Possible Misuse of the PATRIOT Act

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

All I know about this case is what’s in the news report below. But it sounds pretty outrageous.

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51 Responses to “Possible Misuse of the PATRIOT Act”

  1. #1 |  David | 

    Even if we assume that the kid in the story did call in a fake bomb threat weren’t there plenty of laws to on the books to charge him with and allow a fair trial?

  2. #2 |  Z | 

    Ten bucks the R’s will want to repeal the patriot act under Obama.
    Twenty bucks that the D’s will want to keep it.

  3. #3 |  Al | 

    Not that I know anything other than what’s in the clip either but I can’t shake the feeling is that this will turn out to be a case bad journalism (much like this) more than anything else.

  4. #4 |  seeker6079 | 

    Whaddya wanna bet that the parents voted for Bush twice?

  5. #5 |  Ira | 

    How is this different from any other criminal defendant claiming they got the wrong person?

  6. #6 |  Ginger Dan | 

    What was it the Gitmo guards told some of the prisoners, “if you weren’t a terrorist before you came here….”

    I feel bad for this lady and her son, but there outrage is 8 years too late, it’ll probably take the rest of the country another 20 years and the waterboarding of jaywalkers to wake up.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Due process. It is NOT about the kid being guilty or not. It is about due process (things like having access to council). The PA strips that away and there is no good reason to do so.

    Of course, Lil’ Kim and Putin see nothing wrong with this.

  8. #8 |  Rhayader | 

    @Ira: Well most criminal defendants, from the time they are arrested, are free to publicly expose their case and defend themselves however they see fit. The very problem with the PATRIOT act is that it removes all accountability and transparency from the criminal justice process. “Any other criminal” has a constitutional right to his day in court, to having his side of the story presented. That’s not really the case here.

  9. #9 |  LibertyTiger | 

    Possible misuse? This is exactly what the Patriot Act was for. They’re just now getting around to applying it as they originally intended.

  10. #10 |  David | 

    It’s different in the sense that, if the story is accurate, he’s being denied access to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. Whether he’s innocent or guilty, the Government need to prove a case against him

    A kid being charged with making bomb threats is a non story. Not allowing the kid to defend himself against that charge is.

  11. #11 |  Chance | 

    Have to 2nd Ira’s question. I’m not a fan of the PATRIOT Act, but specifically which rights were violated here? Was there not a warrant? Has he been denied counsel? Even assuming the child is innocent, and the feds over reacted, I don’t see the specific rights that were violated. The reporting sucks here.

    And the mom sounds like a moron.

  12. #12 |  Chance | 

    Where do they say he hasn’t been allowed counsel?

  13. #13 |  j.d. | 


    found the video of the raid.

  14. #14 |  Rhayader | 

    @Chance: The right to counsel is not the only aspect of a fair and open criminal justice system. I will agree with you that the reporting is weak at best, so it’s possible that some of the “unanswered questions” are really journalistic omissions.

    But, off the top of my head, this raises a few questions beyond the presence or absence of counsel:

    1) What has he been charged with that is keeping him imprisoned without bail?

    2) Why does his imprisonment continue despite the total lack of physical evidence in the home, and the obvious possibilities of IP spoofing, etc?

    3) Why are gag orders prohibiting the government from publicly discussing the situation necessary in this case?

    I could go on; again, whether these a “real” questions, or just the result of poor reporting, is absolutely not clear. Something to question though, for sure.

  15. #15 |  Chance | 

    Rhayader, I just used that as an example, not as an exhaustive list, but I understand your point. Your questions raise more questions for me,

    1. What has he been charged with that is keeping him imprisoned without bail? I would assume the charge would be making bomb threats. Since that is a violent threat, pre trial confinement might be reasonable.
    2) Why does his imprisonment continue despite the total lack of physical evidence in the home, and the obvious possibilities of IP spoofing, etc? Good question. As stated in the piece, Law Enforcement over reaction? As I said above, a threat of violence may be a pretty good reason to confine. We’d need to know what those messages said.
    3) Why are gag orders prohibiting the government from publicly discussing the situation necessary in this case? My immediate thought is that the gag order may have something to do with his being a minor. Any lawyers out there know if that is a plausible reason?

  16. #16 |  Ira | 


    The mom could have raised a stink from day one if she wanted to do so – nothing in the Patriot Act that I’m aware of restricts one’s right to say or do anything in response to an arrest.

    The perversions of the law that exist in the PA notwithstanding, this seems like amatuer hour at the television station and your typical “You got the wrong guy” protestations of every two bit POS that gets caught and ends up on tv these days…

    All of the questions you raise should have been addressed in the report. My guess is the reporter, editors, producers are all Carolina or State grads… see now it all makes sense.

  17. #17 |  carpundit | 

    It’s hard to tell what that was about, thanks to the vacuous reporting. At least it was inflammatory.

    Possible Patriot Act sections to which they were trying to refer could be 219 (allowing extra-territorial issuance and service of search warrants in terrorism cases); 802 (redefining domestic terrorism); or 808 (redefining -broadening- the federal crime of terrorism).

    I doubt it’s 219, because the warrant they show at the end of the clip is from N.C., not Indiana. Probably something to do with 802, and its modification of 18 USC 2331, but it’s impossible to know without reading the search warrant. Too bad they don’t have it. Oh, wait, they do. Now if only they had someone who could read.

    BTW, there’s nothing in the Patriot Act that suspends Due Process of persons arrested for federal crimes. That’s pretty simple to understand, really. Due Process comes from the Constitution. The Patriot Act is a law. Congress can’t pass laws to change the Constitution. (Only an amendment can do that. Or Dick Cheney.)

    The whole thing’s unusual. Warrants are usually served in the daytime (by rule of criminal procedure); feds usually don’t charge juveniles (because the fed system can’t really accommodate them); and gag orders usually aren’t imposed in criminal cases.

    I guess we need to stay tuned. But not to that TV station.

  18. #18 |  Mister DNA | 

    Whaddya wanna bet that the parents voted for Bush twice?

    I dunno, the mom struck me as a solid blue-stater when she said she doesn’t allow her kids to be around guns, going on to say, “I don’t believe in guns”.

    I get such a kick out of people who conflate disapproval with disbelief.

  19. #19 |  parse | 

    Well most criminal defendants, from the time they are arrested, are free to publicly expose their case and defend themselves however they see fit. The very problem with the PATRIOT act is that it removes all accountability and transparency from the criminal justice process. “Any other criminal” has a constitutional right to his day in court, to having his side of the story presented. That’s not really the case here.

    Wait–he’s being denied his right to have his side of the story presented, and you know this from the video of the sympathetic news account posted here?

  20. #20 |  Whim | 

    Sounds like Junior is basically being confined without adequate consultation with his MOTHER, and maybe without competent legal representation.

    Wonder if he’s undergoing behavioral “counseling”, i.e. psychological profiling and behavioral modification by the Federal authorities?

    Isolate a 16-year old kid for two months, two states away in a separate time zone from his family, will work wonders for a PATRIOT Act case…….

    Hope Momma told Junior while he was being taken away:

    “Keep your mouth SHUT. Say NOTHING.”

  21. #21 |  Rhayader | 

    @Chance: Yeah there could very well be reasonable explanations for any of that stuff, I agree. It could also be a case of governmental secrecy gone bad. There’s no real way to tell from this story. I will say that the complete lack of bomb evidence turned up in the search points away from the possibility of violent intentions, not toward it.

    @Ira: Yeah fair enough; something seems a bit off not only with the WRAL coverage, but even with the mother’s statements given the timing involved. No way we can really know just from this story.

    Oh and I just moved to NC last year, and yeah the “educated” folks down here aren’t exactly impressive.

    @parse: No I don’t know anything; like I said several times, I agree that this story is crap. I was just trying to point out the difference between a run-of-the-mill defendant and a defendant who has been charged under the PATRIOT Act.

  22. #22 |  Adrian B | 

    “I don’t even believe in guns.”

    Not the first time I’ve heard this turn of phrase, but it remains a stupid thing to say regardless of your beliefs about gun control.

  23. #23 |  Hamburgler007 | 

    Gee, I guess when it isn’t a brown person they are applying the patriot act to its sheds a whole new light on things.

  24. #24 |  Marty | 

    I can’t imagine having my kid spirited off 2 states away while I try to hold my world together…

    this is worth keeping an eye on- hopefully we get some follow-up soon.

  25. #25 |  Michael Chaney | 

    seeker #4:

    1. She doesn’t like guns
    2. Bush was a President. The patriot act was passed by Congress, including most Democrats.
    3. Furthermore, we now have a Democratic Congress and President, and yet no rush to get rid of the act.

    I would like to think we’re smart enough around here to not push the stupid line that the Republicans are to blame for everything we don’t like.

  26. #26 |  seeker6079 | 

    I think my point would have been made better if I’d simply said,
    “I’ll bet she was for it before she was against it”.

  27. #27 |  Kevin | 

    I might very well be mistaken here, but I thought that it actually was a crime to talk about an arrest or seizure committed under the authority of the Patriot Act. I thought that was one of the things most civil libertarians seized on as one of the PA’s most flagrant constitutional violations when it was first passed, that if a person were to have his or her property seized due to the PA, then that person couldn’t even inform his or her lawyer of the event. Am I wrong?

  28. #28 |  Marty | 

    will griggs has an interesting story about this case at

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #19 parse

    Wait–he’s being denied his right to have his side of the story presented, and you know this from the video of the sympathetic news account posted here?

    But he wasn’t in the video tape. All we got was his mom’s side of the story.

  30. #30 |  carpundit | 


    Recall that the Patriot Act is not a single law, but really a series of modifications to existing laws.

    You are probably thinking about the National Security Letter provisions, which allowed the government to impose silence upon recipients of the letters. The recipients could not even consult counsel. That part was struck down, I think in 2005, but I could be off by a bit. Most recently, in 2007, courts also struck down another part of the law giving further support to people who might want to challenge an NSL.

    I am aware of no part of the Patriot Act that makes it a crime to talk about an arrest or seizure. I do not think such a provision would survive challenge.


  31. #31 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “Never, in my worst nightmares, did I ever think that it would be my own government that I would have to protect my children from.”

    The woman is obviously delusional. Someone needs to tell her everything the government does is for the children. Sounds like she’s a perfect candidate for a Homeland Security re-education facility.

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #25 Michael Chaney

    1. She doesn’t like guns

    Actually, she said she doesn’t believe in guns. Does that mean she doesn’t like guns or does it mean she doesn’t believe they exist? That guns are a fictional concept?

    I’m always confused when people say they don’t believe in something (unless it’s god they’re talking about).

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Cautionary tale. As with insane sex offender laws making pic texting kids criminals, the good old PA is (I’m sure) ramping up to make every angst ridden emo kid a domestic terrorist.

    Someone tell me I’m wrong. This is the MO. THe state will save us all…just check to see if you feel confident you and your family can navigate the minefield (one strike and you’re out).

    For those critical of the TV report, it takes two minutes to use googletubes and find out more (hopefully before posting).

  34. #34 |  Tokin42 | 


    That’s what I thought too, if having 12 guys in your house holding guns doesn’t convince you of their existance then there is some serious denial issues going on.

    A 15 yr old male. raised by his widowed mother. homeschooled. Did I mention he’s a teenager? I’m sure he has zero issues. Also, I didn’t realize that making bomb threats was perfectly legal before the patriot act and the cops would just call your mom and ask her to please take care of it.

  35. #35 |  Kevin | 

    Thanks carpundit – precisely the kind of context I was looking for.

  36. #36 |  Kevin | 

    I think the obvious construal of her rather silly “I don’t believe in guns” comment, is that meant she to say “I don’t believe in using/owning guns”. I’ve heard my fair share of “I don’t believe in religion/arguing about politics/placing my elbows on the kitchen table,” what have you. Surely we don’t think a person means that he or she doesn’t think that religion exists, or that talking about politics never occurs, or that placing one’s elbows on the kitchen table is impossible. That she made such a remark doesn’t necessarily speak very highly of her intelligence, but neither do I think we can jump to any conclusions about it. Seems a pretty petty point. (I’m just going to go ahead and leave that unintentional alliteration in there.)

  37. #37 |  Ben | 

    Well, even though that article at Pro Libertate has some hysterically hyperbolic language, it at least lays out some details about how this case invokes the PATRIOT Act. Keep in mind of course, these are just the allegations of the mother:

    “Annette insisted that Ashton not answer any questions without an attorney present, but she wasn’t permitted to call one.”

    “The standard that they used to arrest and detain my son was not `probable cause,’ as the Constitution requires, but rather `good faith,’ as specified in the PATRIOT Act,” Annette Lundeby observes. “This meant that they didn’t have to provide real evidence of a crime, because they didn’t have any. All they had to do was assert their `good faith’ reasons for arresting and holding Ashton, and the judge simply let it stand.”

    “He was then transferred to a federal detention center in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been for more than 60 days.
    As of today (May 5), a criminal complaint in this case does exist, but Ashton has yet to be charged with a crime.”

  38. #38 |  Carpundit | 

    #35 Kevin,
    You’re welcome; btw, where I wrote 2007 it should have been 2008. (In case anyone else is getting down in the weeds on this.)

    #37 Ben,
    Good faith is not the legal standard to arrest someone. The standard is probable cause. Nothing in the Patriot Act changed that.
    I’d like to see thorough reporting on this, instead of a bunch of whacko sites’ hysteria.

  39. #39 |  Matt | 

    The sheep are finally starting to realize the stupidity of the patriot act?

  40. #40 |  NatX | 

    We certainly do have 1 side of the story. That’s mainly because the law enforcement and prosecutors aren’t giving statements. Who requested the case be put under a gag order? Certainly not the kid or his mom. That’s definitely the government, y’know that gov’t that supposed to have enumerated powers. That LIMITED national government, which a system of checks and balances and enumerated powers should keep from encroaching on our liberties like some despot? Sure, the kid could be a real life case of 24 from a couple seasons back, but you should all be discomforted that anything about the substance of a criminal case is secret. That’s nonsense we’ve disapproved of since the Court of Star Chamber. There are very very few legitimate reasons to keep every single aspect of a case secret. You certainly want to preserve the integrity of an ongoing investigation, but you know what? For most of our history you still had to put suspects before a grand jury/judge and charge them publically with a crime relatively soon after taking them into custody. Really, they are supposed to be arraigned in 24 hours in most cases. If you think the feds can’t haul your ass off to prison for 2 months and let you rot in legal limbo then you’re very mistaken. In this matter I’m a political atheist. The attorney general and the rest of the executive branch have a duty to put an end to this type of nonsense, but I fear they won’t. It’ very hard to give up power once you get it.

  41. #41 |  nada | 


    Here is a much, much better story that fills in many of the missing details.

  42. #42 |  Mike T | 


    1) He had an alibi with a number of witnesses to the same saying that he couldn’t possibly have been near a computer while the event took place. The FBI conveniently never went to his church, where he was working, and never interviewed the group.

    2) The attack happened in a separate timezone. The FBI didn’t even bother to factor that in when looking at the possibility of him doing the attack versus it being someone else spoofing his IP.

  43. #43 |  Ashton Lundeby Arrested In North Carolina For Making False Interstate Bomb Threat to Indiana, Mother Annette Lundeby Plays Media Like Violin, Everyone Panics About Patriot Act | Popehat | 

    […] first heard of the case from the formidable Radley Balko at the indispensable Agitator blog. Radley simply linked a video clip from a local news story on the Lundeby case and commented that, if true, it sounded outrageous. That’s a rather gigantic […]

  44. #44 |  Ken | 

    Predictably, all is not as it seems. Once again, the cry of “Patriot Act! Patriot Act!” replaces the cry of “Wolf! Wolf!”

  45. #45 |  Al | 

    I want my eight imaginary points back.

  46. #46 |  davepen | 

    Methinks there’s more here than meets the eye…

    Anytime I can kick .gov in the sack over anything is a-okay with me, but something tells me this kid was up to mischief.

    I don’t buy this whole “stolen” IP address (oft-called spoofing) business. We’re not talking identity theft, here.

    This claim doesn’t seem to fit. Of all the billions of IP addresses in the world, “they” just happen to pick his to cause this particular trouble?

    The technology to know exactly what came from where on the internet has been in place for years; spoofing occurs, but is also readily detected.

    I seriously doubt he’s a terrorist, and the PA is illegal crap but I’m drawing the line there.

  47. #47 |  Waste | 

    Looks like there is more to the story than Mom was saying.


  48. #48 |  pam | 

    wake up call.

  49. #49 |  chance | 

    Much of the online fury was triggered by Lundeby’s incorrect claim — uncritically reported by the station — that the boy was being held without any legal rights on the authority of the 2001 USA Patriot Act. In truth, making telephone bomb threats has been a federal crime since 1939. The teenager is being held without bail in Indiana, but he’s been formally charged, has a court-appointed attorney, and has already made three appearances in front of a judge. The case is sealed because the suspect is a minor.

    I want my karma back. >:(

  50. #50 |  pam | 

    as a Mom, I think I know what she’s talking about. She doesn’t believe in guns because she doesn’t believe in killing. Guns have only one purpose. I believe that is what she meant to say.

  51. #51 |  pam | 

    the sooner we teach our children that “officer friendly” is not friendly, the safer they will be. Give your children a business card of a family lawyer and tell them to give it to officer friendly if they are ever being questioned. Case closed. My children know.