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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Filed Under: domestic spying, fbi, warrants
Companies: fbi


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Dec 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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