From Reuters, House Takes Aim at Patriot Act Secret Searches.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to roll back a key provision, which allows the government to conduct secret "sneak and peek" searches of private property, of a sweeping anti-terrorism law passed soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.Ah, I love common law arguments. Hopefully this move will demonstrate good faith to some of the more paranoid political factions.
The House voted 309-118 to attach the provision to a $37.9 billion bill funding the departments of Commerce, State and Justice. It would be the first change in the controversial USA Patriot Act since the law was enacted in October, 2001.
The move would block the Justice Department from using any funds to take advantage of the section of the act that allows it to secretly search the homes of suspects and only inform them later that a warrant had been issued to do so.
Supporters of the change say that violates both the U.S. Constitution and the long-standing common law "knock and announce" principle -- which states the government cannot enter or search private property without first notifying the owner.