Tuesday, December 24, 2002

SFTT.org -- FBI Follies -- Part 1000

Buy a Flight Manual, Get a Grand Jury Subpoena

As a pilot he purchased a CD-Rom flight manual on eBay. Suddenly he gets frantic phone calls that the FBI is asking about it. He explains why this is silly, there are over 700,000 people in the United States to fly a plane into a building. There is a coda:

I just received a call from the local U.S. Attorney's Office asking if I had received the federal grand jury subpoena concerning the B-737 CD-ROM affair. (I had not received it, but I thanked them for the warning.)

In this brave new post-9/11 world - thanks to section 501 (d) of the "USA Patriot Act" passed by Congress on Oct. 25, 2001, once someone receives such a subpoena - if it is served in concert with a terrorist investigation - he or she is not allowed to tell anyone about receiving the subpoena.

This is not funny. This goes far beyond the apparent idiocy of FBI agents trying to round up every aircraft flight manual in existence. It appears that in the name of fighting terrorism, the federal government is working to cancel the First Amendment.

Now I must press the "send" key before the subpoena arrives.

And if you don't hear anything more from me on this subject, draw your own conclusion.

Editor's Note: Omholt received a federal grand jury subpoena late Tuesday.

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