FBI wiretaps broke the law thousands of times from 2002 to 2006

FBI memos

FBI memos

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Considering the extent of illegal domestic telephone surveillance practiced by US intelligence agencies after 9/11, the disclosure of yet another wiretap scandal can hardly surprise anyone. But the latest revelation by The Washington Post points to an alarming collusion between FBI agents, their supervisors, as well as telephone industry employees, all of whom consciously disregarded even the severely lax standards of the USA PATRIOT Act. The paper says it acquired several internal FBI memos (.pdf), through “a government employee outside the FBI, who gained access to them”. These memos appear to show widespread abuse of more than 2,000 US telephone call records (but not content, it appears), which FBI agents obtained between 2002 and 2006, by presenting telephone companies with fake National Security Letters (NSLs). The NSLs claimed the records were required for emergency counterterrorism investigations. But in reality these investigations bore no connection to terrorism, and the NSLs were never followed up with actual subpoenas, as they were supposed to. The Post spoke with FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni, who admitted that, since the NSL requests were fake, the Bureau “technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act”. What is more, the requests often involved wild fishing expeditions, widening phone record searches to include “two and three degrees of separation” from the original interception target. Caproni told the paper that the FBI is currently trying to determine “whether discipline is warranted” by this latest phone surveillance scandal. But intelNews hears that Bureau attorneys consider this a strictly technical issue, making disciplinary action extremely unlikely.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to FBI wiretaps broke the law thousands of times from 2002 to 2006

  1. Dr. Monkey says:

    They broke the law and kept on breaking and yet the man who was in charge at that time is still in charge now. Crazy.

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