The ACLU announced today that it filed a lawsuit April 6th bringing a constitutional challenge to provisions of the PATRIOT act that allow the FBI, without individualized suspicion of any connection to terrorism or espionage, to subpoena information without a warrant, without judicial scrutiny, and under a gag order prohibiting the recipient of this “National Security Letter” from disclosing to anyone — even their lawyer — the fact that the information had been disclosed.
Why didn’t they announce their suit until today? The Government was trying to keep it secret. Not even the fact of the constitutional challenge to the provision was to be public. Through negotiations, the ACLU was able to get the government to allow them to announce the suit and post a redacted compaint.
Reading a complaint in a pending constitutional case that has big sections blacked out in marker is sort of a chilling experience.