no patriots they

The Bush administration and leading Senate Republicans were defeated (this time) in a rather sneaky attempt to introduce the C.I.A. and the Pentagon into domestic surveilance.

The proposal, which was beaten back, would have given the C.I.A. and the military the authority to issue administrative subpoenas — known as "national security letters" — requiring Internet providers, credit card companies, libraries and a range of other organizations to produce materials like phone records, bank transactions and e-mail logs. That authority now rests largely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the subpoenas do not require court approval.

The surprise proposal was tucked into a broader intelligence authorization bill now pending before Congress.

. . . .

[Democrats and civil liberties advocates] said that while the F.B.I. was subject to guidelines controlling what agents are allowed to do in the course of an investigation, the C.I.A. and the military appeared to have much freer reign. The F.B.I. also faces additional scrutiny if it tries to use such records in court, but officials said the proposal could give the C.I.A. and the military the power to gather such material without ever being subject to judicial oversight.

The proposed measure went well beyond the notorious provisions of the so-called "Patriot Act II" being considered by the Justice Department.