The Bush administration argues whether it’s tracking calls or bank accounts, innocent people needn’t worry. They’re only going after terrorists.

Apparently, not so.

Three Kurdish men who transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Middle East in violation of the nation’s anti-terrorism law were spared prison yesterday by a judge in Harrisonburg who concluded that they did not have “evil intent.”

The men, all of whom were granted asylum in the United States, could have been sentenced to up to five years in prison for violating the Patriot Act.

… Although the government did not accuse the men of having terrorist ties, the charges against them were brought under changes adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Under the Patriot Act, those who transfer money can be charged even if they do not know their actions are illegal.

So even if you don’t know you did something illegal and you weren’t involved in terrorism but an innocent transfer of money to relatives abroad, you could be given probation and fined as much $6,600.