What It’s Like to Fight a National Security Letter

by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries The Wall Street Journal July 17th, 2012 The saga of Nicholas Merrill’s fight with the U.S. Justice Department began in 2004 with a strange phone call. “They just said this is so-and-so from the FBI and we’re going to send somebody by with a letter,” says Mr. Merrill, the founder of a small New York Internet service provider called Calyx. I didn’t really take it seriously. I just said, ‘OK, that’s nice,’ and went back to my work.” Then the FBI agent showed up at his office door. “The agent was wearing a trenchcoat and pulled out a huge wallet with a badge and then pulled out the letter,” Mr. Merrill says. “And then I realized it was serious.” Mr. Merrill is one of only a few people in the U.S. who can talk publicly about what it’s like to receive a national security letter, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation to seek financial, phone and Internet records about companies’ customers. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/07/17/what-its-like-to-fight-a-national-security-letter/>http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/07/17/what-its-like-to-fight-a-national-security-letter/