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[] LAT 24.10.02: ACLU, Other Groups Sue Government,

ACLU, Other Groups Sue Government

Associated Press Writer

October 24 2002, 8:56 AM PDT

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union and three other groups 
sued the Bush administration Thursday, demanding information about expanded 
Justice Department surveillance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The private organizations are seeking information about how the government 
is carrying out record-gathering at libraries, bookstores and Internet 
service providers. The lawsuit comes almost a year after President Bush 
signed the USA Patriot Act, which widened the government's surveillance 
power as part of the effort to prevent further terrorist attacks.

The case filed in U.S. District Court alleges that the Justice Department 
has provided no information on parts of the Patriot Act that have "obvious 
and serious implications for individual privacy and the freedom of speech."

The groups on Aug. 21 asked for all policy directives and other guidance 
which the Justice Department and the FBI issued to their employees on:

* Obtaining circulation records from libraries, purchase records from 
bookstores or e-mail records from Internet service providers.

* The expanded use of pen registers and trap and trace devices. Pen 
registers capture phone numbers dialed on outgoing calls, while trap and 
trace devices capture numbers identifying incoming phone calls.

The groups also are demanding information about the number of times the 
Justice Department has engaged in various types of surveillance in the past 
year. The Justice Department says such data is classified.

"The Justice Department conceded in early September that the information is 
of exceeding importance to the American public, but it nonetheless 
continues to stonewall," ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer said in a statement.

Other groups joining the suit were the Electronic Privacy Information 
Center, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the 
Freedom to Read Foundation.

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