I don’t expect better from the government these days, but none the less, its blatant politics continue to amaze and appall me. From a press release from the national ACLU office:
Less than six weeks after the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the government has given up its legal battle over a gag order on Connecticut librarians affected by a controversial provision of the law, which will allow them to speak publicly for the first time about their objections to secret FBI demands for patrons’ library and e-mail records.
Why am I appalled? Because the government deliberately fought the release of the identity of the Connecticut librarians so that they could not participate in the debate on the Patriot Act. Now that it’s been renewed, the government has dropped its opposition. So much for their claim that revealing the name of the librarians who received national securisubpoenasnas would cause “irreparable harm.”
To add insult to injury, it should be noted that government lawyers inadvertently revealed the name of our clients (the Library Connection of Windsor, Conn. – whew, now we can say it!) after they failed to redact all references in court filings. The name was then published in the NY Times and other newspapers. Despite the fact that their identity had become known, our clients still were not allowed to participate in the Patriot Act debate.