Back when the Patriot Act was first being pushed through, I remember reading some ignoramus on some right wing message board somewhere sneeringly dismissing any concern that the administration might abuse its authority, as has happened so many times in the past. It stuck in my head for some reason, this willful refusal to learn anything from the lessons of history, as if we are all born anew each day and nothing which has come before can have any possible bearing on what will happen now.
As if, say, the Nixon administration was just some bizarre aberration, and not indicative of the need for strong checks and balances at all times.
Well here’s something to send a chill down your spine: ABC News is reporting that the FBI intercepted correspondence from one journalist to another.
Government agencies opened a package mailed between two Associated Press reporters last September and seized a copy of an eight-year-old unclassified FBI lab report without obtaining a warrant or notifying the news agency.
The Customs Service intercepted a package sent via Federal Express from the Associated Press bureau in Manila to the AP office in Washington, and turned the contents over to the FBI.
FBI spokesman Doug Garrison said the document contained sensitive information that should not be made public. However, an AP executive said the package contained an unclassified 1995 FBI report that had been discussed in open court in two legal cases.
“The government had no legal right to seize the package,” said David Tomlin, assistant to the AP president.