Department of Justice orders libraries to destroy five publications, then rescinds the order.

Seems Attorney General AsshatAshcroft put out an order to the nation’s libraries last week to destroy five publications it had deemed were not “appropriate for external use” causing a bit of an uproar with the folks at the American Library Association:

Last week, the American Library Association learned that the Department of Justice asked the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents to instruct depository libraries to destroy five publications the Department has deemed not “appropriate for external use.” The Department of Justice has called for these five public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a law office or law library.

The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation. The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).

Hmmm. Now why do you think he’d want to restrict access to these publications? The ALA submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to see if they couldn’t find out what the motivation for suddenly withdrawing and destroying documents that have been available for four years might be. This was enough to get the DOJ to back down claiming that they’d decided the documents in question were “not sufficiently sensitive to require removal from the depository library system.”  How convenient.

Links via Boing Boing.

13 thoughts on “Department of Justice orders libraries to destroy five publications, then rescinds the order.

  1. LOL, hahahahaha!  You gotta be shittin me! 

    Oh,  you’re actually not kidding?

    We are so clearly teetering on the edge of madness in this country.  The govt. wants to be able to sieze your property, but they don’t want you to have access to the text of the laws that allow them to execute such siezures?

    Oh man, that is soooo Kafkaesque!

  2. Nah… we’re running a deficit, and he figured he’d drum up some sales.  ‘Cause ya gotta have ‘em now! 

    Guess “I didn’t know it was illegal” just took a step closer to being a valid defense in court.

    captcha: take

  3. I don’t think that this was their motivation in this case.  All of the documents on the list are and have been readily available on the internet so the DOJ’s ability to squash these documents would have been severely hampered.

    I also noticed that the forfeiture and seizure documents had not been updated since 1998.  My thought is that the legal speak in these antiquated documents doesn’t match up with their shiny new ‘Patriot Act’.  The memo written to the ALA was either poor communication on the part of the DOJ or an attempt to shift focus away from the ‘Patriot Act’.  Realizing the stance that the ALA has assumed against the ‘Patriot Act’ in the past, I am incline to believe the latter of the two.

    One other thing that was a little disturbing was the vast amount of information available about personnel, titles, locations, addresses and telephone numbers which were readily available throughout the Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory.pdf.  Talk about an intelligence goldmine.

  4. Not to mention the instructions and forms necessary to get your stuff BACK after they seize it.  Pricks!

    Some talk show, many moons ago, had guests who’d gotten assets seized, though they turned out innocent, or had bought at govt auction and the feds “re-seized” it b/c it had previously belonged to a criminal.  Issue was the massive difficulty they had trying to get their shit back.  So it’s already a pain in the ass.  Maybe they don’t want to go to court anymore and are hoping to scare off people with obscurity?  Or there’s something they let slip in it (loophole?).

    capcha: court

    I bet you could use the capcha code to make a frighteningly effective psychic application.  Port it to a handheld – give a whole new meaning to “Palm” reading wink

  5. You vill do as ve say citizen, you vill not question ze fuhrer, und you vill march to ze tune in a patriotic fashion or else!

    I was recently asked if I would like to go and live in the US with a rather nice gentleman I met. I responded with, ‘I am sorry, but the fatherland USA is way down on my list of places I’d like to live, somewhere between the gaza strip and mars.

    I feel for the decent people in America, ie the ones who still have control of their own brains, and have not had them subverted by religion, politics, or worse still the no brainer religio politics of Bushtard and his cronies.

  6. Serai has it on the nose.  The fascist tendancies of republican governments in th USA has been ongoing back to R. Regan, so days worse than others.  In recent months I have been surfing various Blogs and chat sights and the tendancy amongst right-wing posters to feel that their fellow americans who don’t agree with them are the ENEMY is extremely frightening.  Considering the number of nuclear weapons our neibours still have I would prefer someone sane as president.  Why couldn’t the republicans have picked C. Powell for Pres?  Perhaps a nice atheist for Pres? Les for Pres?

    Captcha = Serious and deadly so

  7. Why doesn’t this surprise me? If they must make any attempt at wittling away rights related to a free society why would they not want to first burn reference materials related to bombmaking? I bet the NRA would be in there like flint, if any mention were made to, “how to build your very own homemade firearm.”

  8. Don’t be too critical. We don’t want make it easy for Richard Reid to get his tennis shoes back.

    (expect)

  9. Ironically, even “racial profiling” would not have flagged Richard Reid, for secondary screening.

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