December 20, 2005
Little Red Book, Just Read It Online
Chairman Mao on Complacency: "Complacency is the enemy of study. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency. Our attitude towards ourselves should be 'to be insatiable in learning' and towards others 'to be tireless in teaching'". (Chapter 31)
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Statement regarding Homeland Security Library Issue
The following statement was released on Dec. 19, 2005:
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth officials are investigating reports that a student at the university was visited by officials from Homeland Security after the student requested a copy of Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book”. UMass administrators have interviewed the student who has requested that his identity be shielded, and the University is complying with that request.
At this point, it is difficult to ascertain how Homeland Security obtained the information about the student’s borrowing of the book. The UMass Dartmouth Library has not been visited by agents of any type seeking information about the borrowing patterns or habits of any of its patrons and did not handle the request for the book in question. The student has indicated that another university library processed the request.
The UMass Dartmouth library has established policies for handling requests under the Patriot Act and has taken every lawful measure possible to protect the confidentiality of patron records.
The Library subscribes to the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights and was a signatory to the MCCLPHEI (Massachusetts Conference of Chief Librarians of Public Higher Educational Institutions) resolution on the USA Patriots Act submitted to the Massachusetts Civil Liberty Union in 2003.
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said, “It is important that our students and our faculty be unfettered in their pursuit of knowledge about other cultures and political systems if their education and research is to be meaningful. We must do everything possible to protect the principles of academic inquiry.’’
Ann Montgomery Smith
Dean of Library Services
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Library
voice 508-999-8664, fax 508-999-8987
Thanks to Paula Lichtenberg, Librarian, Keker & Van Nest LLP for for this follow-up.
Editor's Note: I would look first to OCLC as the source of the patron information. The press account states that the "Little Red Book" was on a Homeland Security watch list. If it was, it would be much more efficient to monitor ILL requests for the work at the OCLC level than at the level of individual libraries.
Shucha's List of Law Library Blogs Updated
Over at WisBlawg yesterday, Bonnie Shucha announced that her List of Law Library Blogs and Blogs by Law Librarians or Law Library Associations has been updated. If I remember correctly, the first edition of the List identified 52 blogs. Now there are 91 blogs!
See our "Spotlight" feature on Bonnie.
Superfund's 25th Anniversary
On December 11, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA or Superfund), creating the Federal government's program to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Read more about it.
BTW, did you know that 1 in 4 Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site?
The Year in Review by George W. Bush
From the sick and twisted minds at JibJab comes a year end roundup starring a beleaguered President and the laundry list of problems he's faced in 2005... Check it out.
December 19, 2005
Intelligence Information Not Shared with Congress Identified
In a Dec. 14, 2005 memorandum to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Congressional Research Service discusses the role Congress plays as a consumer of national intelligence information and provides a descriptive list of some of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s principal intelligence products, including an identification of those which the executive branch routinely shares with Congress, and those which it does not.
Mark Giangrande, DePaul Law Library
Is the Department of Homeland Security Monitoring Interlibrary Loans? No, Its a Hoax!
Well, actually the Department may be but not this time.
From the Standard-Times, which first broke "the story."
The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for "The Little Red Book" by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story. The 22-year-old student tearfully admitted he made the story up to his history professor, Dr. Brian Glyn Williams, and his parents, after being confronted with the inconsistencies in his account. Had the student stuck to his original story, it might never have been proved false.
The original story ....
A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by agents of the Department of Homeland Security after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's "The Little Red Book" through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program according to two history professors at the university, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand. The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further. Read more about this disturbing incident.
USA Patriot Act Provisions: Countdown to Expiration
Here are the 16 provisions of the USA Patriot Act which are set to expire Dec. 31 if not renewed by Congress:
Section 201: Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to terrorism.
Section 202: Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses.
Subsection 203(b): Permits the sharing of grand jury information that involves foreign intelligence or counterintelligence with federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense or national security officials
Subsection 203(d): Gives foreign intelligence or counterintelligence officers the ability to share foreign intelligence information obtained as part of a criminal investigation with law enforcement.
Section 204: Makes clear that nothing in the law regarding pen registers _ an electronic device which records all numbers dialed from a particular phone line _ stops the government's ability to obtain foreign intelligence information.
Section 206: Allows federal officials to issue roving "John Doe" wiretaps for spy and anti-terrorism investigations.
Section 207: Increases the amount of time that federal officials may watch people they suspect are spies or terrorists.
Section 209: Permits the seizure of voicemail messages under a warrant.
Section 212: Permits Internet service providers and other electronic communication and remote computing service providers to hand over records and e-mails to federal officials in emergency situations.
Section 214: Allows use of a pen register or trap and trace devices _ a device that records the originating phone numbers of all incoming calls on a particular phone line _ in international terrorism or spy investigations.
Section 215: Authorizes federal officials to obtain "tangible items" like business records, including those from libraries and bookstores, for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.
Section 217: Makes it lawful to intercept the wire or electronic communication of a computer hacker or intruder in certain circumstances.
Section 218: Allows federal officials to wiretap or watch suspects if foreign intelligence gathering is a "significant purpose" for seeking a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act order. The pre-Patriot Act standard said officials could ask for the surveillance only if it was "the" sole or main purpose.
Section 220: Provides for nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence.
Section 223: Amends the federal criminal code to provide for administrative discipline of federal officers or employees who violate prohibitions against unauthorized disclosures of information gathered under this act.
Section 225: Amends FISA to prohibit lawsuits against people or companies that provide information to federal officials for a terrorism investigation.
Lederman on the McCain Amendment
December 18, 2005
The Best Law Blog Award goes to ...