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Skeptical about 'facts'

I am always skeptical about statements of absolute fact in opinion pieces. United States Attorney Debra W. Yang's opinion piece (November) on the U.S. Patriot Act contained such a statement.

Ms. Yang stated: "In fact, section 215 of the (Patriot) act has never been used to examine anyone's library records or reading habits." I would be very interested in how the U.S. Attorney knows this.

Ms. Yang acknowledges in her next paragraph that requests for orders for the production of documents are presented to and ruled upon by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court — a court so secret that I suspect that not one in 10,000 Americans knew of its existence prior to the signing of the Patriot Act.

A court whose proceedings are closed to all except the minions of a few select government agencies who seek to acquire secret warrants and orders.

I would be grateful if Ms. Yang - or anyone for that matter — could explain how the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California is privy to every case and every ruling handed down by one of the most secretive judicial bodies to ever exist.

Michael McIsaac

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