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FBI Lied To Support Need For PATRIOT Act Expansion 396

Posted by kdawson
from the control-freaks-in-the-ascendent dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "It probably won't surprise you, but in 2005, the FBI manufactured evidence to get the power to issue National Security Letters under the PATRIOT Act. Unlike normal subpoenas, NSLs do not require probable cause and you're never allowed to talk about having received one, leading to a lack of accountability that caused them to be widely abused. The EFF has discovered via FOIA requests that an FBI field agent was forced by superiors to return papers he got via a lawful subpoena, then demand them again via an NSL (which was rejected for being unlawful at the time), and re-file the original subpoena to get them back. This delay in a supposedly critical anti-terror investigation then became a talking point used by FBI Director Robert Mueller when the FBI wanted to justify their need for the power to issue National Security Letters."
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FBI Lied To Support Need For PATRIOT Act Expansion

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  • A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmpeax (936370) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:06AM (#23088278)
    This is an excellent of example of why we need to be more vigilent and less complacent when it comes to government legislation. The fact that with no actual precedent for requiring stronger powers, the FBI would lie to get them, is a testament to the fact that everyone is susceptible to feeling, and succombing to, a hunger for power, even at the expense of the people they are meant to be serving.

    There is a laziness in the way people react to such legislative measures - a laziness that ignores the very real danger that our comfortable Western democracies could fall in to dictatorship much more easily than people think.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    --Edmund Burke
    • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

      by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:14AM (#23088356)
      I'm sure the US public are DYING to write letters to their congressman regarding this issue, but i'm afraid there's a new series of American Idol starting.

      "The Proles will never revolt." -- George Orwell
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        OMG! Get with it, the season is already like 8 weeks in LOL!
      • Re:A real danger (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:04AM (#23088884) Homepage Journal
        Has writing letters to congressmen ever resulted in significant change in the government?
        • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

          by eln (21727) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:09AM (#23088940) Homepage
          Only when the letter is accompanied by a big check.
          • Re:A real danger (Score:4, Insightful)

            by kalirion (728907) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:50AM (#23089496)
            Nope, by a promise of a big check. If they get the money right away, what would be their incentive?
          • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hey! (33014) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:52AM (#23091646) Homepage Journal
            Nope. Because campaign finance laws don't change the laws of economics, they just make money hard to get. Money is a commodity like any other; when it is scarce it's value becomes higher with respect to other commodities (say a Congressman's time). We just have a special name for money scarcity, we call it "deflation".

            So, the net effect of campaign finance laws is to make buying Congressmen cheap, although the complexity of delivering that money legally presents a separate cost barrier to ordinary citizens. It's expensive to set up a lobbying firm, but the marginal cost of buying legislative influence is actually shamefully low, once you have the mechanisms in place to do it legally.
        • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheAngryIntern (785323) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:10AM (#23088952)
          That's one of the major problems with this country.....everyone always adopts the attitude of "I could do this, but I'm just one person and it won't make a difference anyway, so I won't bother" I admit, I'm as guilty of it as the next person.
          • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

            by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:10AM (#23089824) Journal
            everyone always adopts the attitude of "I could do this, but I'm just one person and it won't make a difference anyway, so I won't bother

            That's not being complacent or apathetic, it's being realistic. Face it, when Sony can write a check for ten million to the Democrat candidate and a ten million dollar check to the Republican candidate and ten million for media advertising, the media doesn't cover the Greens or Libertarians except to tell you that a vote for them is a wasted vote, and no matter which candidate loses, Sony wins, the American people lose, and there isn't a damned thing you or I can do about it except "waste our vote" on a "third party" candidate.

            Slashdot Republicans all accuse me of being a liberal and slashdot Democrats all accuse me of being a neocon, and I accuse both camps of being fools and stooges for the corporations that run both major parties. And in the end it doesn't matter at all because your vote is pretty much meaningless.

            But fool that I am, I still go to the polls and vote against the Demoicrats and Republicans.
            • Re:A real danger (Score:4, Insightful)

              by ahabswhale (1189519) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:54AM (#23090556)
              As a fellow hater of the republican and democratic parties, I agree that they are completely run by money. That said, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by saying it's pointless to vote for someone else. It's only pointless so long as everyone thinks it is. If people suddenly, by magic, were to believe otherwise then you would see people in office who don't have donkeys and elephants by their names.

              So don't ever say it's "meaningless". It isn't. You're just jaded (along with 99% of the population).
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by sm62704 (957197)
                You're just jaded

                I can't argue with that, although I think "cynical" might be a more accurate description. Yet I still show up at the polls tilting at windmills every election.
            • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

              by KGIII (973947) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:45AM (#23091520) Journal
              The sad thing is that there was a time when we voted FOR things. Now? We're just voting against them.
              • The sad thing is that there was a time when we voted FOR things. Now? We're just voting against them.

                Proud to say that I've never done that. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil! If you can't find something or someone to believe in, then write in somebody you know could do the job.

                My mother has received an amazing number of write-in votes in the last 20 years. And ya know what? Even though she didn't get elected, I still feel good knowing that she could do ANY of those jobs I voted her for.

                Some of my friends have been known to vote for her too...

        • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AmaDaden (794446) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:22AM (#23089088)
          Yes, but the trick is the it's letterS not a letter. When everyone starts talking they start caring. MY real question is why is this not on the news?! I see more advertisements on CNN for extending the PATRIOT Act then I see news about ANYTHING relevant to it. It's infuriating. This country was built on the idea of free speech. It's the unspoken fourth branch and somehow it's been killed.
          • No, Letters just make them think, "Hey maybe this issue will help me get re-elected."
          • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dpilot (134227) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:10AM (#23090838) Homepage Journal
            It's been killed by becoming a profit center.

            It's much more profitable to report on Britney and American Idol than on political muckraking. For that matter it's more profitable to cover the Presidential race as a horse-race, complete with sound-bites, than it is as a serious political discourse and critical event. To think about it, political muckraking typically offends those with wealth and power, and that's clearly not profitable.

            After profit IS the most important thing, isn't it?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mpe (36238)
          Has writing letters to congressmen ever resulted in significant change in the government?

          Possibly when they contained Anthrax.
      • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheAngryIntern (785323) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:07AM (#23088914)
        It's funny how they can get 50+ million people to vote for American Idol and probably less than half of those will vote in the presidential elections (of the ones who are old enough to vote, that is)
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          It's funny how they can get 50+ million people to vote for American Idol and probably less than half of those will vote in the presidential elections

          So tell me again, is it McCain, Obama, or Clinton who want to legalise pot, outlaw contribution bribery to more than one candidate in any given race, and outlaw contributions to a candidate one isn't eligible to vote for? That's the candidate who will get my vote. Oh none of the above you say?

          It's a sad fact that an American Idol vote is more meaningful than a
          • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Interesting)

            by canUbeleiveIT (787307) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:10PM (#23091894)
            I'm with you. I would happily vote for, contribute to, and volunteer time to any non-Ayn Randian candidate who campaigns on some/all of the following:
            1. Ending this ridiculous and wasteful "war on drugs".
            2. Changing farm policy from welfare to big agribusiness (current policy) and doing something that actually benefits our country.
            3. Reforming campaign laws.
            4. Doing something about Social Security.
            5. Either doing what is necessary to win the war in Iraq or getting out.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dekortage (697532)

          I watched the "Idol Gives Back" episodes with the celebrity appearances. Bono introduced the three leading presidential candidates, who sent in 30-second video spots where they encouraged viewers to donate to the various worthy causes (fighting AIDS, educating poor children, etc.). But only McCain was funny: he said something like "unlike a primary, on American Idol your vote actually means something." Clearly, he's alluding to fact that Idol commands more involvement of the US public than politics.

          Cli

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      It's funny, sad, and ironic how rigorous the FBI's screening standards are, and yet they get away with dishonest behavior all the damn time. They're like zealous, vengeful little power trippers who were an only child, or they were picked on too much in school, or both -- the kind who'd use their angelic rep to lie to their parents or their teacher to get somebody in trouble.
    • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Daengbo (523424) <daengbo@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:26AM (#23088490) Homepage Journal
      Thirteen years ago, when I was in Military Intelligence, we were hounded and battered over even the appearance of domestic surveillance. A couple of years later, all that went out the window with the "Patriot" Act. Does anyone really believe that spying on your own people is Patriotic?

      I knew what was going on back then. For years, various services had been crying for more power and to break down the walls between agencies so that more domestic monitoring could occur. 9/11 just gave them the excuse they needed. They already had what they wanted drawn up.

      I'm not supporting a conspiracy theory here because, having been in MI, I don't believe the U.S. government to be that proficient. I'm calling this crass opportunism at the expense of citizens these agencies are supposed to be protecting.

      Meh!
      • Re:A real danger (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:52AM (#23089534) Homepage Journal
        Tell you what, Daengbo, my last best hope is that there are a lot of decent, patriotic and reasonable people in military intelligence (and in the military generally), because the political branches of law enforcement and the justice department have been tainted for a generation by the last seven years. Bush, Cheney and Rove went into this with the plan of seeding government with others like them and it's going to take more than a few really good leaders to flush them all out.

        My hope is that our military and intelligence community career employees will be a firewall against a greater slide into tyranny. You guys are the "militia" that's mentioned in our Bill of Rights.

        After the last seven years, it's funny that the very notion of a "Bill of Rights" seems quaint and antiquated. Like something the Bush Administration has "modernized" out of existence.
        • my last best hope is that there are a lot of decent, patriotic and reasonable people in military intelligence (and in the military generally), because the political branches of law enforcement and the justice department have been tainted for a generation by the last seven years.

          There evidence that Rove has been using connections in the FBI for political purposes a lot longer than the last 7 years. Those rumors were circulating while Bush was campaigning for governor of Texas.

          Funny no one thought it wa

          • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:44AM (#23091506)

            I believe that most people at the FBI are there out of a genuine desire to do good.

            A genuine desire to do good is not sufficient to avoid corruption. In fact it might make you more vulnerable to it, since you are able to rationalize away that corruption for being neccessary for greater good. When you bend the rules, or follow their letter while ignoring their spirit, you can silence your conscience; after all, you aren't pursuing your own good, but common good, so you aren't doing anything wrong.

            And of course once you've bent the rules just a little, there's no reason not to bend them just a tiny bit more, and then more, and then even more, until one day you are doing shit like the summary said - all the time having nothing but the best of intentions. "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." That's one saying people working in intelligence agencies should really take to heart.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sm62704 (957197)
        Does anyone really believe that spying on your own people is Patriotic?

        Hitler, Stalin, Bush, Obama, Clinton, McCain, a hundred Senators and over 400 congresscritters do or did.
      • by moxley (895517)
        They love for you to think that they aren't proficient, and that they are incompetent. Then nobody ever has to be accountable for behavior or programs which would be considered malicious, treasonous, or against our core and stated values.

        But where the real power resides nothing could be further from the truth. At the higher levels of the intelligence community, whether it's FBI, CIA, NSA, NRO, ONI, etc they definitely know what they are doing. Stuff like this doesn't happen by accident - things like this ha
  • You know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hansraj (458504) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:09AM (#23088302)
    that the state of affairs is bad when a news like this doesn't surprise you!
    • Yup. I tagged the story "duh" for exactly that reason. When I heard about Mueller's testimonial, my first thought was "Is this going to be like the WMDs?" Apparently, it is.
  • by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:10AM (#23088304)
    Apparently the National Security Letters are 'F', 'U', 'C', 'K' and 'U'.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MadKeithV (102058)
      Why do you hate America?
      BTW: STFU would be better letters because it doesn't duplicate the U. Though charging twice for the same letter sounds like a typical government thing too ;-)
  • NSLs (Score:4, Informative)

    by ta bu shi da yu (687699) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:10AM (#23088310) Homepage
    National Security Letters are awful because they are so secretive, and the fact that they don't need probable cause makes them constitutionally suspect.
    • Re:NSLs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eam (192101) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:12AM (#23089846)
      You don't understand. They can't be constitutionally suspect because you can't talk about them. That's the whole point to them being secret. If they weren't secret, the first person to receive one would have gone straight to court, and the whole thing wouldn't have gotten this far... ...oh, I see. You just haven't had your re-education training yet. Don't worry. Someone will be along shortly to help you readjust.
  • Perfect example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s31523 (926314) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:12AM (#23088336)
    This is a perfect example of why we should not have blindly given our rights up. To all those people that say, "Hey, I am not doing anything wrong so why should I care if the government taps my phone", I say THIS is the reason. The "government" may have "good" intentions, but the people in government will use the power they are given for other reasons. Next thing you know it wire taps are looking for tax evasion tips, or drug deals. Heaven forbid a mistake is made and your phone is recorded because you said "bomb", as in "last night's concert was the bomb. hey did you score that sack?". Next thing you know your door is kicked in because the police got a "tip" you were buying drugs.
  • by apodyopsis (1048476) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:13AM (#23088340)
    Golly. Talk about your basic police state.

    I'm jolly glad that I live in the United Kingd.......

    oh.

    • Re:share the pain (Score:5, Interesting)

      by darkfire5252 (760516) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:53AM (#23089566)
      I know you were making a joke, but that's something I see as a very legitimate problem. If you look at all the countries of the world, it seems like all the superpowers are making distinct progress in the direction of fascism and authoritarianism. When you combine that with the growing trend of international cooperation to capture terrorists and criminals, to what country should we flee when ours becomes a police state?
      • to what country should we flee when ours becomes a police state?

        To Soviet Russia ?
  • It can't be true! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mh1997 (1065630) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:13AM (#23088350)

    The university, which had readily turned over the records in response to a subpoena, rejected the illegal NSL. Two weeks later, Mueller, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, portrayed the university as intransigent and said the incident showed the FBI needed the power to force the turnover of all sorts of records without having to involve the court system.
    I'm just glad that they nailed Martha Stewart for lying to a federal official and this got the free pass that it deserved.

    The [Secutitis and Exchange] Commission further alleges that Stewart and Bacanovic subsequently created an alibi for Stewart's ImClone sales and concealed important facts during SEC and criminal investigations into her trades.
  • So that guy legally obtained documents by normal legal ways and was asked to cancel that perfectly legitimate procedure and restart from scratch using NSL, that was rejected by a judge? Or am I totally lost?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sorak (246725)
      Yes. The problem was that NSLs were not legal. Had the school handed over the papers anyway, then he could have claimed that the NSL papers helped in this situation. Since the school did not hand over the papers, then they were able to claim that due process impeded their investigation.

      And if they had thought about it, they could, just as logically have pointed out that the sun rose the next day, and claimed that it happened because the NSL papers made Jesus happy.
  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:17AM (#23088404) Homepage
    There is something seriously wrong when an organisation charged with upholding the law and maintaining the moral society in which we all want to live feels it's acceptable to lie and cheat simply in order to grab more powers for its self.

    I can perfectly understand the agents desire for greater powers; "I know this guys a crook so why do I have to jump through all these damn hoops just to lock him away" but there should be leadership from the top which balances these needs with the needs of society and it's here the problem seems to lie with an administration unconcerned with the needs of the society and over focussed on 'improving' it's own machinery.

    I seriously hope the next US President is able to take charge of his apparatus properly and put it use for everyones good rather than fulfilling some dubious goals of your own because as I think we can clearly see now the wrong people in the Whitehouse can produce all sorts of nasty and counter productive behaviour even in areas they aren't directly interested in.
  • Kids (Score:4, Funny)

    by EveLibertine (847955) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:38AM (#23088590)
    But mom, I need NSL's. I need them or I'll DIE.
    Who put these kids in charge?
  • by MECC (8478) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @08:47AM (#23088688)

    The documents shed new light on how senior FBI officials' determination to gain independence from judicial oversight slowed its own investigation, and led the bureau's director to offer inaccurate testimony to Congress.
    Isn't lying to congress these days about as serious an offense as jaywalking?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by VanillaBabies (829417)
      I think you can still technically get a ticket for jaywalking...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:28AM (#23089176)
      Lying to Congress is only a big deal if it's about something serious, like Steroid abuse, not something minor like abuse of executive power.

      I'd like to answer your question, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to claim executive privilege.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Lying to Congress is only a big deal if it's about something serious, like Steroid abuse, not something minor like abuse of executive power.
        That made me shiver. If only it weren't true. Remember how much crap was given to Clinton when he lied about monica? Republicans were trying to roast him. So dems- what the hell are you doing?
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:18AM (#23089036)

    Remember this the next time the so-called "good guys" explain how the sweeping new powers they need to defeat terrorists and save all the children and puppy dogs would never be abused.

    These people have a sense of entitlement coupled with an iron-clad conviction that they're right and everybody else is wrong that makes them at least as dangerous to the long-term survival of democracy as any pack of terrorists.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:37AM (#23089278)
    Somewhere in heaven, he's wearing a dress and looking down with pride that his tradition of civil rights abuses, intimidation, and totalitarian thuggery was not forgotten after all.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:40AM (#23089320) Homepage Journal

    Unlike normal subpoenas, NSLs do not require probable cause and you're never allowed to talk about having received one, leading to a lack of accountability that caused them to be widely abused.

    The Fourth Amendment [wikipedia.org]
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


    No search or seizure is reasonable unless determined by a court to derive from probable cause for the search or seizure.

    NSLs are inherent violations of the Constitution. Every time, even when they're "properly" used. When they're not even used according to the FBI's rules, there is not even a flimsy excuse for violating the Constitution.

    Thousands of times, as a matter of course, or on a whim. Mueller and every other official with their hands dirty from these crooked anti-American NSLs should be impeached immediately. And then charged with criminal penalties, then slammed in prison with the people they were charged with busting. Because they're all criminals. Some, like Mueller, far more dangerous than others.

    In a slightly less civilized country (but one with perhaps more dignity), Mueller would have been hanged from a tree or ripped to shreds by an angry mob. He should be grateful that we have the decency to just throw him in jail.
    • Not correct (Score:4, Informative)

      by hey! (33014) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:27PM (#23092196) Homepage Journal

      No search or seizure is reasonable unless determined by a court to derive from probable cause for the search or seizure.


      That's not true at all. If the police are engaging in hot pursuit, they don't have to wait for a warrant to follow you (or anybody else) onto your property.

      The health inspector or fire marshal doesn't need a warrant to inspect private property for code violations.

      If there is active combat, say in a civil war, the army can enter your house without permission for combat purposes, either to seek combatants or to use it as a vantage point. This is one reason why Americans ought to be very concerned about blurring the definition of "combat" and "combatant".

      The Fourth Amendment says that searches need only be "reasonable". It's presumptively unreasonable to search or seize in circumstances where a warrant is customarily required. However, if you can show that under the circumstances delaying to seek a warrant would be unreasonable, you don't need one, although you have to prove this, and may face challenges to evidence you introduce into criminal trials.

      The flip side is that having a warrant issued on probable cause makes a search presumptively reasonable, but there are exceptions. If the warrant is not sufficiently narrowly tailored to the evidence supporting probable cause, or you exceed its specific limitations, then your search or seizure is unreasonable, warrant notwithstanding.

      So, the Fourth Amendment is both stronger and weaker than people think it is. It is certainly not reasonable to play linguistic games to make a search appear "reasonable". Calling a person a "combatant" isn't enough to convert an unconstitutional search into a constitutional one, because it is the substance of the circumstances that matter. If you're shooting at people out of your window, it is the necessity of protecting people that makes entering your home, searching it, and detaining you reasonable, not the label the police apply to you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Hot pursuit itself requires more than "probable cause": it requires the police personally witnessing the criminal red handed (and seeing that the escaping perpetrator is a clear and present danger). The seizure (and possible search) must then be justified in court, with evidence establishing that probable cause had been met or exceeded.

        So even in the application of our protected rights in the real world, probable cause and court approval are still required for searches or seizures to be reasonable.

        Health in
  • FOIA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfessler (53843) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:41AM (#23089334) Homepage
    So, how long before FOIA is repealed? Anyone? Anyone?

    What always surprises me is that people working for these bodies, like the FBI, are more than willing to commit these deeds, and yet seem to have no thought toward destroying the evidence, let alone complying with a FOIA request.

    Or are we only seeing the violations committed by the stupid ones?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kalirion (728907)
      That's what I was thinking. On the other hand, if this is the kind of evidence that's left lying around, just imagine the contents of the documents that they've destroyed or don't acknowledge the existence of!
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @09:47AM (#23089428) Homepage Journal
    With this NSL stunt, we see the entire Bush/Cheney Doctrine at its most blatant. The Doctrine is exploit any crisis first to expand Executive power far past Constitutional limits, without any accountability, then attend the crisis only so much as necessary to preserve those powers, then abuse them elsewhere without restraint. It's "Shock and Awe" for every occasion, especially domestically. Shocking and awful, though we're pretty numb to it by now, as the details finally start to leak out after years of digging by unsung heroes like the people at EFF.

    You can look at any crisis, unexpected or manufactured, through the long 7 1/4 years of Bush/Cheney's presidency, and see that Doctrine hard at work (the only hard work done by the regime).

    Or you can read Naomi Klein's book _The Shock Doctrine_ [naomiklein.org] for the (literally) gory details.
  • Wow is the summary wrong, please see http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/04/eff-issues-report-abuse-national-security-letter [eff.org] for info.
    Anyways the truth of the occurance.
    1) It was used as a reason why the FBI needs administrative subpoena power instead of NSLs. (summary totaly wrong).
    2) What happened. The FBI wanted information on a person who had meet with people involved with the bombers in London; that person had a attended chemical classes from NC State. They went to the professors who gave the FBI so
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:24AM (#23090022)
    Of a couple of weeks, hasn't it? The FBI faking evidence so that it can get Congress to give it the power to violate the Constitution over and over again. And this comes on top of revelations that the Vice President, National Security Advisor, and 4 other top members of the Administration actually sat in a room and choreographed how the CIA would torture people who fell into their clutches.

    And yet, there's no hollering and screaming in the public for heads to roll. The Democratic majority in Congress, our supposed check on this kind of abuse, still does not call for impeachment.'

    Soon, my friends, very soon, there will be little recourse but to converge on Washington DC and burn it to the ground.

    But in the small hope that that can be avoided, please call and write your Congresspeople and demand impeachment for these and all the many other crimes they've committed.
  • by d3m0nCr4t (869332) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @10:42AM (#23090342)
    This is the way that empires have fallen in the past, and how they will fall in the future. Not by an invasion or war, but simply because they started rotting from the inside, corrupted by power.
  • by Tiber (613512) <josh.knarr@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:22AM (#23091076) Homepage
    For one, linking to a news summary of a publicly available testimony is why slashdot sucks nowadays.

    The second laughable problem is that the FBI shouldn't need to justify the emergency. The director is correct. But they should be held accountable to what's done in such an emergency. If a police officer turns on his lights and sirens simply to run a red light and causes an accident, you get a fat check! The FBI doesn't need to demonstrate that it has an actual emergency, but does need to be held accountable to what it's done after the fact. The same concept applies to anyone or anything else. The cops don't pull you over randomly in your car and ask if you've been speeding because you aren't guilty until it's observed. You don't get shaken down on the street for assault and battery because you have a baseball bat.

    This is why slashdot has gone to the dogs. Without linking to the original context of the testimony, you can't possibly hope to have any meaningful discussion. DON'T YOU LOVE SPIN?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by oDDmON oUT (231200)
      The cops don't pull you over randomly in your car and ask if you've been speeding because you aren't guilty until it's observed. You don't get shaken down on the street for assault and battery because you have a baseball bat.

      Bullshit, pure and simple bullshit. Cops and those in authority have, and always will, act arbitrarily.

      Whether you have long hair (1960s - 70s), the "wrong" skin color (1700s - present), the wrong ideology, facial features, attitude, whatever, you can be a target at the momentary whim
  • shocking! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:51AM (#23091614)
    You mean to tell me that the FBI is the evil FBI?! I'm shocked! Shocked!..Well not that shocked.
  • by sophiaknows (939814) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @11:54AM (#23091692)
    One basic error made in the summary and repeated by a number of posters is the the government does *not* need 'probable cause' to obtain evidence under a subpoena.

    A subpoena is not a warrant, and demanding production of evidence is not a 'search' or 'seizure'

    That happens when the feds show up at your house and turn over all of the furniture looking for evidence.

    Basically, all they need to show for a subpoena is that the information or evidence sought is relevant to ongoing investigation

    The practical difference between a NSL and a traditional subpoena is that the NSL can be issued by the FBI without requiring judicial review. Further, an NSL includes a built-in gag order while the judge would again have to rule on the appropriateness of sealing order and gagging the recipient.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @12:20PM (#23092046)
    This will probably not get modded anywhere, but I thought someone at least deserved to know why this problem has arisen now.

    20 years ago I was working for a Western national security organisation. It was a great club. No one audited us, or checked what we were doing. Our budgets, which were not huge compared to other parts of government, were always cleared when we said the magic words "National Security - Hostile Intelligence Agents - Eastern Bloc".

    Then in 1990 the Berlin Wall came down, and by '94 we were suddenly being asked what we did with our money, and our budgets were being cut. Government committees started questioning our reason for existence.

    We needed a New Threat. Some people may think it a lucky coincidence that we found one so quickly, but I don't believe in coincidences...
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday April 16, 2008 @01:55PM (#23093406) Homepage Journal
    Have you ever wondered what was going through people's heads in Russia when the Committee for State Security began monitoring its own citizens? Early on I'm sure there were little news blurbs like this one. Then over time, people probably began to accept the necessity of this surveillance. Wikipedia has recognized this trend and accurately compares Russia's Committee for State Security to our own FBI [wikipedia.org].

    Seth

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