Security Groups Oppose Gag Subpoenas

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A group of national security experts and whistleblower advocates, led by the National Security Archive, have weighed in against the FBI's use of national security letters (NSLs), a form of subpoena that is beyond judicial review and prevents the recipients from talking about them with the press.

The NSLs were one of a number of post-9/11 measures giving the government broad counterterrorism investigative powers to collect information and shield that collection and information from journalists and others.

The group filed a friend of the court brief in the federal  appeals court review of a decision ruling the FBI's subpoena of Internet records using the NSLs violated First Amendment speech protections and Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The group argued in its brief that the overclassification of information does not necessarily protect national security and that, in any instance, juducial review is a must for any government claims of secrecy.

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