FBI Apparently Believes That Court Orders Are For Suckers

from the data-mining-the-FBI dept

Wired's invaluable Ryan Singel has been panning for gold in the muddy stream of FBI e-mails and other documents recently obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation under a Freedom of Information Act request, and has already hit a couple of intriguing nuggets, such as overeager agents' willingness to bypass court-order requirements when seeking cell phone records. The documents reveal how this caused tension and dispute even within the Bureau.

One e-mail, from a tech specialist in the FBI's Minneapolis office, complained that other agents would even pose as that specialist when calling telecom carriers, hoping to persuade them to turn over cell records without a judge's order. The cell information would apparently then be used as part of a high-tech tracking program that allowed agents to pinpoint a cell user's location.

Equally intriguing is the report that the Bureau's national-security wiretapping software recorded almost 28 million "session" intercepts in 2006. While it's not clear precisely what counts as a "session," this is obviously vastly more than the 2,176 FISA warrants (pdf) obtained by the government that year, at least some of which only covered physical searches. Unless terror suspects talk on the phone far more than the average teenager, the discrepancy hints that each warrant may have covered a very large number of individuals.



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  1.  
    identicon
    Shun, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 3:46pm

    Discrepancy? We've heard of it

    Something said at the end didn't sit well with me: "the discrepancy hints that each warrant may have covered a very large number of individuals."

    Actually, what it says to me is that the FBI didn't bother to get a FISA warrant for the vast majority of their intercepts, which seems more in line with Ryan Singel's reporting.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    If one is tooling down the interstate at 80 MPH talking on the old cell for 30 minutes switching from one cell tower to another each 30 seconds is that 60 sessions or one session? We know it is 1 phone call but how many sessions is that?

     

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  3.  
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    Chris, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 4:15pm

    You all seem to be forgetting that ever since the Patriot Act was passed no warrants need to be obatined for searches and seizures, wire taps, or any other means of intrusive investigative behavior. You can be detained, tortured, and refused access to due process of law (lawyer, trial, etc) without ever being told for what reason indeffinately, so long as the government says you're a terrorist.

    There is no illusion as to how much the government hates us. Sept. 11 is proof enough. The more you suffer the richer they get. If you think otherwise simply try asking them for help, and see how dedicated they are to resolving your problem.

     

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  4.  
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    AlGhoul, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 4:42pm

    Re:

    It's sad, but Chris is right...to a point...

    I don't think the government hates us, but they do get richer from us suffering more (look up "Sicko" by Michael Moore...and I don't even like the guy...). Health care is a direct proof that the more we suffer, the richer the government, and big corporations, get.

    Sad...

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 4:53pm

    Re:

    If you are implying that the US government had something to do with 9/11 I'm very sure you are wrong.

    Worst case, they sat on the news of the impending attack (which is what looks like happened according to the publicly presented evidence). Even if they didn't ignore the information, the Bush administration did flat out lie to the people of the US in order to use the attack as a basis for the Iraq War.

    Its going to be a long haul to clean up the mess Bush and his cronies have done, and I really hope that whoever gets elected next works hard to undo the so-called 'Patriot' Act.

    The fact they made an acronym that spelled out 'Patriot' should have been the first red flag that it probably isn't entirely honest. Then the details of it should have been enough to keep it from going into effect.

    I'm oh so glad that the ideals of the US Constitution have been thrown away in the last 8 years, and our international reputation shat upon. We never were universally liked, but when our former close allies are distant because of the actions of the current administration, I get worried and furious.

     

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  6.  
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    evilned, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 5:42pm

    Before you start blaming Bush...

    Most of the readers here are to young to remember the days of J. Edgar Hoover. If you think these constitutional violations are a recent development, then you should take a look back at what the FBI did to people like the Kennedy's, Martin Luther King, and others.

    This is an institutional problem with the FBI and they have been hauled up in front of congress repeatedly since the death of Hoover.

    Of course, no one dared go after Hoover in the old days because he had so much on people. He pretty much created a secret police and answered to no one. He even denied the existence of the mafia until it practically slapped him in the face.

    Read all the history on it.

    I'm of the opinion that the FBI can't be reformed or salvaged. It needs to be disbanded and the managers and a large number of the agents dismissed. There are some very good ones and they can be folded into a new agency that is built from the ground up with a stated mission and proper oversight.

     

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  7.  
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    Overcast, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 7:20pm

    Of course - they are above the law. The law is only for us serfs.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Chris, Dec 22nd, 2007 @ 12:35am

    Re: Re:

    If by the US Government you mean all members of Congress, the Senate, and all Cabinet officals took part in and approved of the actions that took effect on 9/11 then you are correct in saying those people did not have anything to do with the events that occured on 9/11.

    However, certain key players within the Unites States Government did have key intrical roles in ensuring the events on 9/11 were carried out specificaly as intended. Just a few days before the attack occured the security level was reduced for no apparent reason. Bomb sniffing dogs were removed from the structures, and the entire defense networks of the bulidings were powered down for hours for what was said to be routine service work for network infrastructure upgrades. Steel buildings have never before, and never since collapsed due to a fire. The maximum temperature that an open fire (fires fueld by office equipment, drapeirs, chairs, etc...) can only reach a maximum temperture under ideal conditions that will only weaken steel by a marginal percentage. Any further proof, look at your steel cooking ware in your house. They're on controlled fires (use of a gas such as propane) that can reach even higher temperatures, and yet your pots and pans still retain their shape year after year. Buildings when they collapsed do not fall straight down, they topple over. WTC building 7 also "Collapsed" due to fires, but all the other WTC buildings were left standing, even after taking the full brunt of the force of hundreds of tons of steel falling down on them.

    The same day the 9/11 attacks occured the US military was running field excercises that were designed around plane hijackings. Voice recordings of officals calling NORAD to deploy planes, which normally take minutes to deploy, took hours to get off the ground. All the ground footage you see of firefighters and other emergency service crews responding to the first plane strike show the interroir of the lobbys to be heavily damaged. Why would they sustian damage if a plane hit 40 stories up? Simple, devices were isntalled underground to go off at the same time the planes stuck to weaken the base of the structures. Video footage even shows several squibs going off, and the debri of the outer steel layering lodged into surrounding buldings is a clear indication of the use of explosives. The builings were blown up, and explosives have always been under the direct control of the military.

    The list goes on and on and on and on, most notably however is the fact that serveral of the persons said to be hijackers of the planes are still alive. Some have even sat down with reporters and done interviews, none of which of course made it the mainstream media. Spend an hour doing a little reaserch behind the truth about the events that went on that day and it's quite clear what the intent of the US government is. NAFTA and the EU, and the AU, and all the other mulit-national alliances are built towards one common purpose, driving the world to a sole governing body "The New World Order." Even in presidentail speaches you'll hear the term used.

    The next step is going to be the push for RFID implementation. All new US passports already have them installed. Eventually everything will have one and should the government ever decide to turn yours off, well then you may as well have never existed in the first place. We're nothing but cattle to them, and the more they can dumb down the masses to just chew the cud all day, the more content they'll be.

    US got involved in WWI because someone attacked our people on a ship, after someone told a key German offical that doing so would initaite our involvement. WWII, the exact same reason, Vietnam, yet again nother boat being attacked, and was later even proved to be staged by our own people. WWIII is just another similar event in the waiting.

     

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  9.  
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    Trutherz, Dec 22nd, 2007 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    OMG ... and we never landed on the moon either!!!

     

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  10.  
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    Paul`, Dec 22nd, 2007 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "(fires fueld by office equipment, drapeirs, chairs, etc...) can only reach a maximum temperture under ideal conditions that will only weaken steel by a marginal percentage." Ad to that the stress applied to the building of having a 50 or so tonne plane smash into to side with a tank of jet fuel and it is hardly surprising. The reason they collapsed down is because of the way they were constructed, with a giant support column right up the guts. Go have a read. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    who is surprised?, Dec 24th, 2007 @ 8:09am

    And

    And this is news to who?

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Kilgore Trout, Dec 26th, 2007 @ 12:36am

    Government run amok?

    Say it ain't so...

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Dec 26th, 2007 @ 2:31pm

    we now return you to our regularly scheduled progr

    Now about that expectation of privacy...

    No need to get a court order if the information
    is gathered for intelligence purposes and won't
    be used in court. Who would know? Ok, sometimes
    there are leaks and that's embarassing.

    None of this is new or novel, except perhaps for
    the enormous volume of information that can now be
    gathered. In the late 70's the best we could do
    was monitor a couple thousand lines simultaneously.
    At least that was the capability of equipment
    available for export to Iran.

    Even with some preselection by looking for keyords,
    can the data collected be analyzed to any degree of
    success in a timely manner? I don't believe so at
    this time.

    Once that knot is unraveled it will be an even more
    interesting time to be alive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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