I gathered this was a reference to the Patriot Act, a piece of legislation that consumed the minds of the American left, the Democratic Party and, perhaps most of all, America's librarians to an extent no rational person could explain -- then or now.
The Patriot Act, considerably weaker than similar laws in Europe, allowed the FBI to ask a judge for a warrant to seek third-party business records and search suspected terrorists' homes without notifying them right away. (The alternative is to tip off the next Mohammed Atta prematurely.)
Leading left-wing civil libertarians went crazy. The ACLU proclaimed that "the FBI could spy on a person because they don't like the books she reads, or because they don't like the websites she visits. They could spy on her because she wrote a letter to the editor that criticized government policy." Howard Dean insisted that Attorney General John Ashcroft "is no patriot. He's a direct descendant of Joseph McCarthy." David Cole wrote of the Patriot Act in The Nation that the law "resurrects the philosophy of McCarthyism, simply substituting 'terrorist' for 'communist.'"
My favorite response came from Jan O'Rourke, a Pennsylvania librarian who destroyed the records of all library visitors so she could prevent the G-men from finding out who borrowed "Catcher in the Rye" or surfed the Web for adoptable kittens.