National media finally catches on to PATRIOT act abuses

Earlier this week, CNN posted an article that finally focussed some national attention on the use of the USA Patriot Act by the government against "common criminals."

The article contained a number of good examples of why such broad-reaching authority needs to be meted out in an even-handed way with appropriate oversight.

Although the criminals in question are certainly criminals, it is really questionable whether it is appropriate to charge "aman accused of running a methamphetamine lab with breaking a new state law barring the manufacture of chemical weapons."

Obviously, this example is a state law, but there are examples of the USA Patriot Act as well, including WMD charges against a man whose homemade pipe bomb exploded in his lap in California.

Of more concern is the comment by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (incorrectly identified as the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys by CNN-- nice fact checking, guys) that "within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases."