More Trouble Upstate?

richardhanna081 More Trouble Upstate?Upstate New York’s congressional delegation has already seen it’s share of scandal in the last couple of years, what with photos surfacing on the Internet of a shirtless Congressman and another who was forced to explain away tickle fights.

Now Political Wire points us to the possibility (pointed out to them by a reader) that Syracuse-area Rep. Richard Hanna may have plagarized portions of an op-ed he wrote in the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Hanna, a first-term congressman, was one of the few Republicans who voted against the extension of the Patriot Act, and uses the space in the paper to explain his vote in language fairly similar to that in a blog post on the libertarian think tank The Cato Institute’s web site.

Writes Hanna: 

As drafted currently, the Patriot Act includes “lone wolf” authority that allows non-citizens in our country who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities to be monitored under the broad powers afforded by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), even if they are not connected to any overseas terror group or other “foreign power.” 

And writes Cato author Julian Sanchez:

So-called “lone wolf” authority allows non-citizens in the U.S. who are suspected of involvement in terrorist activities to be monitored under the broad powers afforded by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), even if they are not connected to any overseas terror group or other “foreign power.

Again, Hanna: 

Additionally, the Patriot Act allows for “roving” wiretap authority that allows intelligence wiretap orders to follow a target across multiple phone lines or online accounts. The law’s roving wiretaps differ from the version available in most cases because the target of an order may be described rather than identified. These roving wiretaps raise the possibility of warrants that name neither a person nor a specific place or facility. This is similar to the “general warrants” the founders wished to prohibit when they crafted the Fourth Amendment.

And Cato: 

Roving wiretap authority allows intelligence wiretap orders to follow a target across multiple phone lines or online accounts. Similar authority has been available in criminal investigations since 1986, but Patriot’s roving wiretaps differ from the version available in criminal cases, because the target of an order may be “described” rather than identified. Courts have stressed this requirement for identification of a named target as a feature that enables criminal roving wiretaps to satisfy the “particularity” requirement of the Fourth Amendment. Patriot’s roving taps, by contrast, raise the possibility of “John Doe” warrants that name neither a person nor a specific “place” or facility–disturbingly similar to the “general warrants” the Founders were concerned to prohibit when they crafted the Fourth Amendment.

Finally, Hanna:

Finally, the Patriot Act expanded the authority of the FISA Court to compel the production of business records or any other “tangible thing.” Previously, such orders were limited to narrow classes of businesses and records, and required a showing of specific facts that the records sought pertain to an agent of a foreign power. The Patriot Act stripped away those limits. The current law requires only a showing of reasonable grounds to believe records are relevant to an investigation – not probable cause – and has no requirement that people whose information is obtained be suspected of any connection to terrorism.

And Cato again:

Section 215 expanded the authority of the FISA Court to compel the production of business records or any other “tangible thing.” While previously such orders were limited to narrow classes of businesses and records, and required a showing of “specific and articulable facts” that the records sought pertain to an agent of a foreign power, Patriot stripped away those limits. The current law requires only a showing of “reasonable grounds” to believe records are “relevant” to an investigation, not probable cause, and has no requirement that people whose information is obtained be even suspected of any connection to terrorism.

As you can see, not a direct, line-by-line pilfering, but the similarities, even if many of them are political boilerplate, are uncanny.