Citizens who want to keep an eye on the [Patriot Act re-evaluation] process will have no easy task. The most crucial debates of the Senate Intelligence Committee are being kept closed to the public.
Now the Bush administration and its Senate allies have come up with another: a proposal to let F.B.I. agents write their own "administrative subpoenas," without the need to consult prosecutors or judges, in demand of all manner of records, from business to medical and tax data. There is no serious evidence that agents have been hamstrung by the lack of such wide authority.
Freeing agents from getting a judge's sign-off is an invitation to overreaching and abuse, as is a proposal to let the F.B.I. ignore postal law restraints when antiterrorism agents choose to monitor someone's letter envelopes and package covers.
Our lives become more and more transparent, as government becomes more and more secretive and opaque. Where are the "administrative subpoenas" for Cheney's energy task force, or for Bush and Cheney's testimony before the 9/11 commission?
Just imagine what problems could be solved if everyone in government had to play by the same rules as the rest of us poor schmucks.