When the Patriot Act and the other new government powers that the Bush administration pressed for in the wake of 9/11 were granted, civil libertarians worried about those powers being used outside the context of fighting terrorism. Why? Because it goes without saying that people in government, like people anywhere else, will take full advantage of privileges given to them regardless of how they were intended to be used. Sure enough, government prosecutors are using their powers in all sorts of clever ways, like charging someone who runs a meth lab with manufacturing chemical weapons. I think we can all agree that we don’t want people to run meth labs, but we already have laws that cover that. If the judge in that case has a spine, he’ll toss that charge out immediately. I’m hesitant to even call these abuses, because there is no doubt in my mind that the Justice Department intended to use these new powers in every way possible when they asked for them. In fact, most of the new powers had been on the law enforcement wish list long before 9/11. I hope nobody is surprised.