The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was found dead in front of the F.B.I. Building in Washington D.C. in the early morning hours of June 12, 2011. The cause of death appears to have been failing health and willful neglect by the U.S. Citizenry.
Born December 15, 1791, the Fourth Amendment had been in failing health over the last few decades, but took a severe turn for the worse on October 26, 2001 upon the signature of ex-President George W. Bush of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Several recent additional setbacks appear to have contributed to a sharp new decline, including President Barack Obama's recent remote re-authorization of the PATRIOT ACT by autopen and a few State and Federal Supreme Court decisions that further weakened the 4th Amendment. The final blow appears to have been the F.B.I.'s revamping of its Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide.
Some of the most notable changes apply to the lowest category of investigations, called an "assessment." The category, created in December 2008, allows agents to look into people and organizations "proactively" and without firm evidence for suspecting criminal or terrorist activity.
For more on this story, visit here.Under current rules, agents must open such an inquiry before they can search for information about a person in a commercial or law enforcement database. Under the new rules, agents will be allowed to search such databases without making a record about their decision.