A member of the American Library Association has sued the Justice Department to challenge an FBI demand for records, reports the Washington Post. The USA Patriot Act prohibits the plaintiff from disclosing its identity or other details of the dispute. Congress is in the final stages of debating renewal of the Patriot Act; parts of the law, including provisions that could have an impact on libraries, have come under fire.
Justice Department and FBI officials have refused to say how many times Patriot Act-related powers have been used to seek or obtain information from libraries; they have strongly urged Congress not to limit their ability to do so. The identity of the institution filing the lawsuit in Connecticut and other details are edited out of the public version of the complaint released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a party to the lawsuit. The ACLU is asking the court to lift a gag order in the case and said the dispute is relevant to the debate over the Patriot Act.