May 13, 2004

The ACLU and the "Justice" Department

I've recently become aware of the ACLU lawsuit over these "National Security Letters" - See and

Apparently the "Justice" Department is taking a hard line on the disclosure of any information regarding these "National Security Letters".   And that triggered my discordian thought process to see what can be done within the letter of the law.

Well, thought I - the Patriot Act only says that those who receive such National Security Letters are forbidden to talk about it - which means that those of us who have not received any such letter are in no way encumbered from telling the world that we have not received one.

So, suppose every day I come onto my web site and add a line of the form: "It is now May 13, 2004, 6pm PDT, and as of this time I have not received a National Security Letter."

Then, should I receive a National Security Letter I would be required to stop saying anything on my web site.  And that absence of my daily comentary would be a signal that I have indeed received such a letter.

Of course, the "Justice" Department might demand that I continue publishing my daily (but now false) denial.  So to deal with that situation I take note of the fact that I am perfectly at liberty to make up fanciful stories.  So suppose, that instead of making a daily record of no National Security Letter landing on my doorstep I instead make up a daily story and say "Gee, It's 6pm PST on May 13, 2004 and I received a National Security Letter" today.

Then, should I actually receive such a letter, I would be precluded from saying that I did, and thus would be required to stop my daily storytelling, which, in turn, would announce, albeit indirectly but nevertheless quite clearly, that I did, in fact receive the dreaded letter.

Sherlock Holmes said it all:

"Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

"The dog did nothing in the night-time."

"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Posted by karl at May 13, 2004 5:50 PM