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Judge Rebukes Government over Covert Searches in Kansas


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has put the government on notice that the court will no longer tolerate its "indifference and willful disregard" of legal requirements in conducting covert searches. U.S. Magistrate Judge Teresa James provided a rare public glimpse into the sloppy handling of delayed-notice warrants when she recently rebuked Kansas prosecutors. The public scolding comes amid the growing use of the surreptitious warrants nationwide, especially in Kansas. Congress authorized delayed-notice warrants in the Patriot Act as a way to fight terrorism. But critics say the warrants are being used for routine criminal investigations. The Justice Department has long defended covert searches, calling them in a 2004 report to Congress "a vital and time-honored tool for fighting crime."


The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.