October 8, 2009 / by emptywheel


Yes, They Are Tracking Hydrogen Peroxide and Acetone

Remember how last week I used the hypothetical example of using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to get records on people who had bought hydrogen peroxide and acetone?

I’m going to make a wildarsed guess and suggest that the Federal Government is doing a nationwide search to find out everyone who is buying large amounts of certain kinds of beauty products. And those people are likely now under investigation as potential terrorism suspects. 

Well, two different Senators used, essentially, the same hypothetical today (albeit in context of National Security Letters).

Cardin: Review tools. Someone buys cleaning products that could be used to make explosive device.

Hey!! That was my suggestion.

Cardin: You don’t want to use NSLs on everyone who buys cleaning supplies in the country. Relevant to investigation. Feinstein pointed out specific and articulable facts. Not going to be second guessed on getting information. Gives us oppty in oversight to make sure not using it for everyone buying cleaning supplies in country.

DiFi: listening to debate. These are given out by many thousand. Specific facts prior to certification. Kyl is right about art-kyoo-la-bull (problem saying that). Would you be amenable to dropping that? Specific is the issue.

Kyl: Good question.

Kyl: If we say that we want to know about Joe Blow buying hydogen peroxide.

I’m not certain, but I think they’d have to use Section 215 rather than NSLs for this purpose.

So while Kyl assures us that they’re not searching everyone in the country buying hydrogen peroxide, it appears very very very likely they are searching some subset of the country for their beauty, home improvement, and cleaning supplies. 

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2009/10/08/yes-they-are-tracking-hydrogen-peroxide-and-acetone/