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THE EMERGENCY DISCLOSURE PROVISION OF THE U.S.A. PATRIOT ACT
Counterterrorism Exec Willie Hulon Talks About It

05/09/05

Willie HulonThis is the provision, scheduled to sunset at the end of this year, that, for the first time, permits Internet Service Providers to voluntarily disclose customer records or communications to federal authorities when they recognize they can help save lives and prevent acts of terrorism and emergency-related violence by doing so.

Disclosing personal information to the FBI is obviously a very serious matter—so the House Judiciary Committee asked Mr. Hulon to cite examples of how this provision has specifically helped us protect the American people and national security.

Mr. Hulon believes this provision must not be allowed to sunset.

We think you'll be interested in the representative examples he chose to make his case:

  1. Last spring a threatening email was sent to the El Paso Islamic Center: release hostages in Iraq or we'll burn your mosque to the ground. FBI agents took the email to the ISP in question and were given the needed indentifying information. Jared Bjarnason was located and arrested before he could carry out his threat. He pled guilty and was sentenced to prison.
  2. In a case that was sought to locate suspected terrorists in the U.S. and abroad (most details are classified), several ISPs provided subscriber information that helped us positively identify a person in the U.S. who was in regular contact with a known terrorist organization overseas.
  3. In a case involving attacks against our military forces in Iraq, information from an ISP gave us the names of terrorists there and linked them so that we might locate them, learn about their plans, and prevent future attacks against our troops.
  4. Last December, a pregnant woman was found horrifically murdered in her home, her baby cut out of her womb with a kitchen knife. On her computer was correspondence with a woman on dog-breeding matters—ending the day of the murder when the woman asked directions to the victim's house. Using the Emergency Disclosure provision, we asked for information from Internet companies that allowed us to identify and arrest the murderess, who confessed to the murder, and recover the victim's baby girl, still alive.

Again, these are just a few examples and don't account for the many cases that have supported our terrorism investigations, located kidnapping victims, protected children in exploitation cases, and responded to bomb and death threats.

We urge you to read Mr. Hulon's complete testimony and also testimony by Director Mueller and other Bureau executives that address U.S.A. Patriot Act provisions, due to sunset, that have served to significantly protect the American people in very human terms.