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Old 03-19-2007, 12:12 AM  
|Zach| |Zach| is offline
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The significance of the FBI's law-breaking

The significance of the FBI's law-breaking

A front-page Washington Post article this morning reports that the FBI's illegal use of NSLs was known inside the FBI but continued anyway. The real value of this article is that it keeps this scandal in the spotlight, because there has, thus far, been too little appreciation for just how serious and threatening this rampant FBI lawbreaking really is. The seriousness of this scandal has been, understandably, slightly obscured by the sheer number of other DOJ scandals, so it is worthwhile to note what makes this so significant.

In essence, the FBI and our nation's telecommunications companies have secretly created a framework whereby the FBI can obtain -- instantaneously and without limits -- any information it asks for. The Patriot Act already substantially expanded the circumstances under which the FBI can obtain such records without the need for subpoenas or any judicial process, and it left in place only the most minimal limitations and protections. But it is those very minimal safeguards which the FBI continuously violated in order to obtain whatever information its agents desired, about any Americans they targeted, with literally no limits of any kind.

In order to obtain telephone records within this FBI-telecom framework, FBI agents have been simply furnishing letters to the telecom companies -- not even NSLs, just plain letters from an agent -- assuring the telecom companies that (a) the records were needed immediately due to "exigent circumstances" and (b) a subpoena for the records had been submitted to the U.S. Attorneys Office and was in the process of being finalized. Upon receiving that letter, the telecoms provided any records the FBI requested -- instantaneously, via computer.

At times, they would request records for multiple numbers at once, and sometimes for hundreds of numbers. From the DOJ's IG Report (.pdf):



But the law does not allow any such process. They simply invented it outside of any legal framework in order to get the information they wanted. The FBI and the telecom companies, on their own, have basically created a lawless framework whereby FBI agents can obtain whatever information they ask for with no safeguards.

Worse, in many of these cases where these letters were provided, they were completely false -- both because there were no "exigent" circumstances of any kind and there were no subpoenas that were submitted or being processed. So the FBI agents who submitted these instruction letters repeatedly made false statements in order to obtain highly intrusive records. This is the crux of the abuse:



Far worse still, one of the very few safeguards remaining after the Patriot Act is that the records sought by the FBI must at least relate to an actual national security investigation. That is not just some bureaucratic or petty record-keeping requirement. That is what ensures an actual nexus between the records the FBI obtains concerning your private activities and a real national security purpose. Without that limitation, the FBI just has the free-floating power to compile dossiers on whomever they want.

Yet in hundreds of cases (at least), the FBI sought these records even though there was no pending investigation to which the records related. That means that there were no limits on the telecommunications records which the FBI sought and obtained. They just asked for whatever records they wanted, said whatever they had to say in their lawless letters to get them (even when such statements were false), and the telecom companies instantaneously provided the data to the FBI.

As Lambert at Corrente Wire documented, the FBI not only has the right, but the obligation, to store all of the records it obtains on computer data bases which, as I noted earlier this week, are accessible by tens of thousands of government employees, outside private companies, and even foreign governments. The abolition of most legal safeguards on the power of the Federal Government to obtain and store data about the private lives of American citizens is already itself scandalous, but the fact that the FBI has been continuously violating even those few remaining limitations and instead literally obtaining, with the full-scale cooperation of private telecom companies, any information it asks for -- and making false statements in the process -- is a profoundly disturbing revelation. And one should not even need to explain why that is so.

It really ought to go without saying that the Federal Government does not have as one of its purposes the compiling and storing of data about the private lives of citizens. To the extent such activities are necessary to forward genuine law enforcement or investigative purposes, stringent limitations and oversight are critical, otherwise abuse is inevitable. Yet here, the Federal Government has literally been operating in total secrecy for the last six years, wildly expanding its power to obtain whatever information it wants about any Americans it targets, for whatever reasons, and vast data bases are being created and expanded.

And the ultimate and most pitiful irony of all is that the political movement that claimed to stand for a limited Federal Government is the same movement that has ushered in these invasive and lawless practices, resulting in a Federal Government that has more intrusive and more unchecked power to monitor the private lives of American citizens than, by far, it has ever had before. Independently, this whole system created by the FBI all but prevents any scrutiny, since the failure even to serve NSLs or subpoenas for these records makes it extremely difficult to determine which records were obtained and for what purpose -- a significant reason why the IG's office was unable to conclude whether these illegally obtained records were motivated by criminal intent.

The idea that this is just about some sort of bureaucratic negligence with some petty record-keeping requirements -- a defense being mounted by Bush followers -- is just insultingly stupid. The NSLs have been a source of intense controversy for years. Their potential for abuse is self-evident. And yet the FBI has created systems which allow it to circumvent the few safeguards which exist, and they have exploited that lawless system aggressively and repeatedly -- by making clearly false statements and obtaining records they are legally prohibited from obtaining -- all, according to the Post report, with the knowledge of many FBI lawyers and other managers, at the very least.

If we tolerate our government obtaining and storing information about our personal lives and private activities in clear violation of the laws we have enacted in order to limit those surveillance powers, what don't we tolerate? This lawbreaking is rooted in the same ideology of lawlessness that has governed our country since 2001. For that reason, this is the same question engendered by the NSA scandal, multiple revelations of other law-breaking, and now the revelations (almost certainly still incomplete) that the FBI has ignored the legal limitations on its power to monitor and store data concerning the private lives of American citizens.

-- Glenn Greenwald

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwa...nsl/index.html
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:23 PM   #121
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Seriously, you should have joined the KGB instead of teaching. This is far from being a molehill that is being turned into a big deal. You may be able to say that about Benghazi, which was incompetence but the NSA matter is NOT what America is about. It's people who think like you that has led us to where we are currrently. Wake up!

NSA collection operation strikes at the very heart of what the Founders felt was vital for the survival of our Republic—trust in their federal government. Now how can anyone be sure?

•When someone purchases a gun on line will their name be placed on a back-door gun registry?

•Are communications with a lawyer in a case involving the federal government being read by the Department of Justice, federal judges etc.?

•Will our communications with a doctor be read by a Health and Human Services Department, the IRS, and a goon in charge of enforcing the ACA heath care disaster.

•What about communications with a priest, minister or rabbi being heard by those who lust to remove all traces of religion from public life? Or anyone who doesn't support an abortion?

• Has electronic communication been placed into a dossier that can be used smear or blackmail when politically useful?
Above courtesy of Michael Scheuer former CIA head of binLaden counterrorism unit.
And then direct quotes below:

Osama bin Laden Predicted Obama’s War on the 4th Amendment







If we do nothing then we are to blame for the state of the union.

A BIG deal needs to be made with the following being done:



All of them are criminals in violation of the laws of this country. Ignore the sheep that speak, and make a bigger deal.
You are way too paranoid.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by |Zach| View Post
Also spending most the thread not even talking about the issue but the style of the post...and being wrong about it all at the same time.
Yeah...this was such a huge issue, that most of us had forgotten it.

Even you by your own words....
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:50 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter View Post
Yeah...this was such a huge issue, that most of us had forgotten it.

Even you by your own words....
You were too stupid to even read or understand it. You were bitching about the source when I was providing you with primary reading. You were a lot more interesting when you went on and on about being diddled.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:27 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by |Zach| View Post
You were too stupid to even read or understand it. You were bitching about the source when I was providing you with primary reading. You were a lot more interesting when you went on and on about being diddled.
Then, as now....'primary source' with 'context' supplied by a partisan rag, that turned out to be a really, really huge deal in retrospect--just like you and other chicken-little-shits predicted? Am I right?



PS: One's true character shines brightly through when one can make light of child molestation.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:09 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter View Post
PS: One's true character shines brightly through when one can make light of child molestation.
Please, in the this one instance, and I'm can't believe I'm saying this.

Please, . . . be more like Dane.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:14 PM   #126
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Please, in the this one instance, and I'm can't believe I'm saying this.

Please, . . . be more like Dane.
No idea...what you mean by that. Guess I don't spend as much time here as I used to...

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Old 06-11-2013, 10:54 PM   #127
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You are way too paranoid.
No I am not paranoid you are unable to confront evil, are naive about people in govt and ignorant of history.

Just look at what's happening over in the IRS for instance. Or Obama over use of EO's to by-pass Congress, his various other betrayals on war, transparency and restoring civil liberties. Look how he won his senate seat. He's dirty. Yet, you still see good in him. That's an inability to confront such things.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:11 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by Mr. Kotter View Post
No idea...what you mean by that. Guess I don't spend as much time here as I used to...

You missed here when Dane left completely for, like, the entire Reagan administration, after someone intimated in jest that he diddles l'il boys?
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:18 AM   #129
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You are way too paranoid.
You watch to much Star Wars,
I can sense the good in him. He couldn't **** me then & he wont **** me now
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:27 AM   #130
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You missed here when Dane left completely for, like, the entire Reagan administration, after someone intimated in jest that he diddles l'il boys?
I vaguely recall the uproar....but didn't know why. Heh.

I'm hurt that you think I should leave though. Deeply hurt.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:04 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Please, in the this one instance, and I'm can't believe I'm saying this.

Please, . . . be more like Dane.
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