If you think the Patriot Act is invasive, you don’t know the half of it, Ron Wyden says—and he can’t tell you. In an interview with Wired, the Democratic Oregon senator reveals that the government is operating on a much broader interpretation of the law than it has let on—and it has classified that interpretation to prevent any public debate. So he’s introduced an amendment to the act’s reauthorization requiring the government to come clean.
“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden says. As a member of the Senate intelligence committee, Wyden is privy to the interpretation, but can’t legally discuss it in detail, though he hinted that it was “fair to say” he was “extremely interested in reforming” the business-records provision, which allows the FBI to seize documents from businesses, medical offices, banks, and more. (Read more Patriot Act stories.)