I would welcome any advice from civil liberties lawyers on ways to counter both this provision of the USA Patriot Act and the gag order, which is the sort of silencing you'd expect of China or Iraq. Remember the repeated assurances by the president, the attorney general, and the secretary of defense that any security measures taken in the war on terrorism would be within the bounds of the Constitution?
George Orwell said: "If large numbers of people believe in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech even if the law forbids it. But if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them."
Today, the public doesn't even know about this provision in the strangely titled USA Patriot Act. A lot of people are still afraid to get on a plane. Is Ashcroft fearful that if people find out about his interest in what they're reading, they'll be afraid to go to libraries and bookstoresand will start asking questions about what the hell he thinks he's doing? And where is Congress?