Ashcroft Asserts Clarification on Patriot Act
American Libraries Online has an interesting article on AG Ashcroft's June 19 presentation at the Aspen Institute Journalism and Homeland Security conference. Ashcroft is quoted as stating the following:"The Patriot Act simply does not allow federal law enforcement free or unfettered access to local libraries, bookstores, or other businesses...We need the help of the news industry, the fourth estate, to inform citizens about the constitutional tools and methods being used in the war against terror. We need the media's help, for instance, in portraying accurately the U.S.A. Patriot Act."
See also this New York Times article, Ashcroft Calls on News Media to Help Explain Antiterrorism Laws, which includes the following statements: He (Ashcroft) said that critics of the law had "charged that under the Patriot Act the F.B.I. has arbitrarily visited local libraries to check out reading records of ordinary citizens. "The fact is simply not that," he said. "The Patriot Act simply does not allow federal law enforcement free or unfettered access to local libraries, bookstores or other businesses."