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FBI Obtains Phone Records With a Post-it Note 187

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-have-a-subpoena-or-a-note-from-home? dept.
angry tapir writes "The FBI was so cavalier — and telecom companies so eager to help — that a verbal request or even one written on a Post-it note was enough for operators to hand over customer phone records, according to a damning report (PDF) released on Wednesday by the US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General."
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FBI Obtains Phone Records With a Post-it Note

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:27PM (#30840442)
    The "Canary Yellow" color of Post-It Notes is a trademark of 3M. [3m.com] See the legalese at the bottom of that site. Canary? Yellow? Too easy.... let's see some punchlines!
    • by 2.7182 (819680) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:39PM (#30840574)
      Look, if the FBI didn't have a good reason, I'm sure they wouldn't have done that. Let's stop trying to hinder their investigations and let them get their jobs done.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by joocemann (1273720)

        Look, if the FBI didn't have a good reason, I'm sure they wouldn't have done that. Let's stop trying to hinder their investigations and let them get their jobs done.

        Sometimes a good investigator doesn't really need a reason. This is what hunches are all about. Some of the best investigators come from Notre Dame -- and why not? The place is so ridden with valuable hunch-making environments that a man developed a full out hunchback!

        I've got a *feeling* that said hunchback ought lead our best forces. FBI or CIA head? Why not!

        I'm gonna go with my gut and say I think I ate something sarcastic for lunch and it's not sitting well... eeeggh... brrrff...

        • by hedwards (940851)
          And that would explain why we have a constitutional amendment which provides for hunches. Wait, there is no such amendment you say, just some that prevent unreasonable search and seizure?
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by TehDuffman (987864)

            And that would explain why we have a constitutional amendment which provides for hunches. Wait, there is no such amendment you say, just some that prevent unreasonable search and seizure?

            Whoosh

          • by sjames (1099)

            Absolutely! It's quite enough imposition searching someone's house. To then start flopping around on their floor is simply unreasonable!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zippthorne (748122)

          Hunches are just what you call it when the evidence was gathered illegally. "Police Psychics" are similar evidence launderers. Either that or they're straight up scammers. Frankly, I'm not sure which is worse.

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:31PM (#30841446) Homepage Journal

            No, you're confusing, or allowing others to confuse, real hunches with cover ups.

            I've had hunches. Probably everyone has. You just KNOW something to be true, but you can't explain rationally how or why it is true. There's nothing illegal or wrong with a hunch - it's just not admissable as evidence. It DOES make a decent reason to investigate something, but it doesn't validate a warrant.

            So - you get your hunch, you investigate as far as you can, and if you find evidence supporting the hunch that convinces a judge, then you get your warrant.

            Let's not confuse this with a bad cop who breaks both of a man's knees to get a confession, then calls it a "hunch".

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Chris Burke (6130)

              Let's not confuse this with a bad cop who breaks both of a man's knees to get a confession, then calls it a "hunch".

              That's true, because to be honest, my real hunch was that I'd only have to break one of his knees to get him to say whatever I wanted. I was wrong, I admit it.

            • by Artifex (18308)

              Let's not confuse this with a bad cop who breaks both of a man's knees to get a confession, then calls it a "hunch".

              True. But could you say it if you broke his back? Not that you'd stoop to that, of course.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rtb61 (674572)

          Now was this debacle the FBI's doing or the incumbent Telecoms doing. From what I understand the telecoms had managed under the Republicans to whack in some pretty hefty and highly profitable charges for handing over customer info, hundreds of times the cost of actually doing it. So on basically the flimsiest request they handed over data because once thousands or request were flowing through the books the revenue was outstanding.

          Now of the FBI's side of things, an investigating needs to be carried out n

      • I can do my job without punching you in the face. So the FBI can also do their job without side-stepping our laws.

        • But how much easier and more satisfying would your job be if you could punch at will? Especially when you're in support and you could punch through the phone?

  • Hey (Score:3, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:28PM (#30840458)

    I wonder if this method would work at a bank?

    I might save some time in the drive thru...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't know about the bank, but taxoffice, yes :)

      My stalking ex-gf knew someone working at the taxoffices and felt she could query me in these PCs. Ofcourse that pulled out all my financial data and adress. She did that before she was my gf, unknowing to me, to find my adress and god knows what else, and later to stalk me.

      Don't overestimate workers...

    • Re:Hey (Score:4, Funny)

      by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:42PM (#30840600) Homepage Journal

      I wonder if this method would work at a bank?

      I might save some time in the drive thru...

      Well, it would definitely attract the attention of the FBI anyway...

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:29PM (#30840464)
    This is one of the biggest problems with cloud-stored data... if the FBI calls and wants it, they'll also attach a request that the service provider not tell you... and as we see that all fits on a Post-It Note. The FBI doesn't like letting the target of their investigations know they're been snooped upon... and the service provider is glad to not tell you they've violated their own privacy policy by giving out info without the proof that they're being legally obligated to do so. There could be a law in the way requiring... wait, they're already doing this despite there being laws in the way!
    • by Tanman (90298) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:39PM (#30840568)

      If they aren't punished, then they are above the law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If they aren't punished, then they are above the law.

        Well, there are two laws in effect here:

        For the public: "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear."

        For the government: "If you have nothing to fear, you have nothing to hide."

        It's not the crime, it's the coverup. I wouldn't mind living surveillance state half as much as I do, if only the government were honest with its citizens about it. If that's what it takes to make it legal, go through channels and repeal the Fourth and Fifth.

        A

        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:00PM (#30840778) Homepage

          I wouldn't mind living surveillance state half as much as I do, if only the government were honest with its citizens about it.

          You mean like in 1984, where the government was quite explicitly and openly spying on everyone, and sometimes the spook spying on you would speak directly to you if you weren't being a good enough citizen? Yeah that'd be sooo much better.

          The coverup isn't good... but no, it's the crime.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by poopdeville (841677)

            You mean like in 1984, where the government was quite explicitly and openly spying on everyone, and sometimes the spook spying on you would speak directly to you if you weren't being a good enough citizen? Yeah that'd be sooo much better.

            This happens already. You've seen those people in black or blue uniforms outside, right? Sometimes they wear tan or brown, if they patrol "highways". Sometimes they go "undercover". Sometimes they walk into ATT's international data routing center and install an entire h

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              You've seen those people in black or blue uniforms outside, right?

              I made note of this in an old journal, Trolling at the Springfield St. Patrick's Day Parade [slashdot.org]

              Still needing caffiene I went in search of coffee, and asked a cop if he knew where I could get coffee. He looked at me like I was crazy. "Maybe in one of the bars," he said. I noticed then that about everyone had at least a little green (I was wearing my old field jacket from when I was in the military), and there wasn't even a tiny bit of green on a

          • It's both.

            The crime becomes unpunishable due to the coverup, but the crime itself is despicable. Only the combination makes it the mess it is now.

      • by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:24PM (#30840972)

        If they aren't punished, then they are above the law.

        Justice continues to escape US Citizens. Current leadership and administrations said they would care, but ultimately have shown complacency and tolerance for injustice. When are we to believe them to be any different? Actions speak louder than words, and the last year of inaction speaks loud and clear as to who we're really dealing with.

    • by Verteiron (224042) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:41PM (#30840590) Homepage

      It can't be said enough: Encrypt everything.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JDevers (83155)

        How do you encrypt a phone call again?

        • by EkriirkE (1075937)
          GSM.. oh, wait...
        • by Verteiron (224042) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:56PM (#30840738) Homepage

          Well, there's this [zfoneproject.com], which is probably the safest method for voice communication. There are software apps for Windows Mobile that encrypt voice connections. You could use an Android phone and Google Voice, provided Google doesn't crater immediately to post-it requests. You could use Skype with the same proviso.

          Bottom line is, though, if you have something that you really, really don't want the government to know about it, don't use a phone (particularly and especially a regular cell phone) to communicate it.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There's also the tried & true drug dealer method....pre paid cells

            • There's also the tried & true drug dealer method....pre paid cells.

              Honestly, in the current environment of paranoia, how is it that unregistered, unlisted, untraceable cell phones can still be purchased, for cash, with no forms to fill out or IDs to be checked, at any Wal-Mart or 7-11? I've been expecting this loophole to be permanently sealed for years now, and am shocked that it hasn't been addressed by the Powers That Be(TM).

          • Well, there's this [zfoneproject.com], which is probably the safest method for voice communication. There are software apps for Windows Mobile that encrypt voice connections.

            A couple years ago, I looked high and low for a functional Windows Mobile app to do this that is compatible with modern phones.. if you have any useful links I'd love if you could share them? Thanks in advance :)

            • I forgot to mention I was looking for a solution that worked actually over the voice channel (not CSD over GSM), and so it should be carrier agnostic and work over CDMA. I'm sure that narrows the field a bit :) I did find this if anyone was interested and has CSD-GSM capabilities - http://www.securegsm.com/pages.php?pageid=73 [securegsm.com]

        • Futhermore, how do you not disclose the number you dialed? Even if the traffic is encrypted, "envelope data" must remain in-the-clear or the service provider doesn't know what to do with the message.
        • by Shatrat (855151)
          Prepaid phone.
      • by Ziekheid (1427027) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:54PM (#30840714)

        Whenever I tell someone I actuall do that they always start to wonder what I have to hide, they'll be uploading new pictures of last weekends night out on their community profile which isn't set to private a few hours later..
        My reason for doing it is simple though, it's none of their damn business. Isn't that enough?

        • by oakgrove (845019) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:31PM (#30841022)

          Whenever I tell someone I actuall do that they always start to wonder what I have to hide

          Do they have curtains covering their windows? What do they have to hide?

        • they always start to wonder what I have to hide

          I usually tell them that it is nobody else's business just how much of my porn collection consists of midget nuns dressed up as penguins peeing on each-other while singing 'I'm a little tea pot'.

          All you have to do is bring up an example that is embarrassing enough that no-one wants to know about it, yet is still perfectly legal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:43PM (#30840612)

      They're not above the law -- they are following PATRIOT Act that is still in place. This wonderful piece of legislature allows FBI to ask for records while placing a gag order on the source, i.e. whoever is going to give you up will not be allowed to tell you that your records are going to be send to law enforcement agencies.

      Want change? Ask Obama to finally become the president of the U.S.

      • I don't like it as much as the next guy, but there are limits on the use of National Security Letters and the FBI doesn't pay attention to them. The Inspector General has cried foul [codemonkeyramblings.com] on numerous occasions about this, but Congress is too busy debating "more important things" like redistributions of wealth of to the health insurance industry to care.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:52PM (#30840692)

      Every privacy policy that I've read - and I read every one for every website I do business with - states that they will give information to law enforcement or to entities that enable them to do business or to enhance my customer experience and then some.

      They also say that they can change the terms any time they want.

      In other words, no website really promises to keep you or your data private in their policies.

      Google is one of the biggest offenders, btw. They constantly change their shit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by timmarhy (659436)
      there is nothing illegal about a service provider handing over their own data - which is exactly what this is. you don't own the phone records, the phone company does.

      there's no law against responding to a request from the FBI of your own accord.

      does it suck that society has gotten to the point that no one is willing to stick up for anyone else? yes, but this is not illegal.

      the only solution is if you paranoid enough about it, only make encrypted IP phone calls from internet cafes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by poopdeville (841677)

        there is nothing illegal about a service provider handing over their own data - which is exactly what this is. you don't own the phone records, the phone company does.

        Breach of contract. They include a privacy policy in their TOS.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Obfuscant (592200)
          Breach of contract. They include a privacy policy in their TOS.

          Have you ever read your telco privacy policy? My telco is Qwest, and I just went to their website to see exactly what their policy is. I quote:

          Qwest discloses personal information collected online to affiliates and to others, including our business partners and vendors, to provide the products and services you request and to enhance those products and services. We may share personal information collected online with the government or third parties who make a lawful request for it. We may also disclose personal information collected online to others to assert and defend our legal rights, and as otherwise authorized or required by law.

          They are quite upfront about sharing your information with the government. All they need to do is make "a lawful request" for it. There is no law that says the FBI cannot ASK Qwest for your information, so ASKING is a lawful request.

          So, wanna try again? What contract do YOU have?

      • by samkass (174571)

        there is nothing illegal about a service provider handing over their own data

        IMHO, the question isn't about the legality of handing it over, but the legality of the Government asking for it without a court order. The fourth amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and there is an argument to be made that there is an expectation of privacy regarding this information.

        In any case, I don't care if the FBI gets the information with a post-it note, as long as that note has reasonable cause and

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          IMHO, the question isn't about the legality of handing it over, but the legality of the Government asking for it without a court order.

          There is no law preventing the government from asking without a court order. There is a constitutional amendment dealing with the government compelling the release. I read some of the "damning report", and the worst I could find is where one agent told the telco they were going to get a subpoena for the data, but it was clear from the letter that they hadn't done so. The t

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:45PM (#30841538) Homepage Journal

            "Do you really think that the cop who pulls you over for a traffic violation really needs to call a judge to get approval to ask you if he can search your vehicle? That's ridiculous."

            In the US? Yes, he does. I've denied permission to search my vehicle on three occasions, and got different answers each time. 1. "If a dog smells something, I can search without your permission." "So, get the dog!" 2. "I can arrest you, and take you jail, then impound your car and search it." "Arrest me on what charge? Failure to agree to be searched?" 3. "I can get a warrant." "If you have probable cause, why don't you already have the warrant?"

            In short, my car has NOT been searched, because I DENIED PERMISSION. The moment you waver, and say something that might be construed as permission to search, you WILL BE searched.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Obfuscant (592200)

              "Do you really think that the cop who pulls you over for a traffic violation really needs to call a judge to get approval to ask you if he can search your vehicle? That's ridiculous."

              In the US? Yes, he does.

              NO, he does not. He can ask you at any time if he can search your vehicle. There is no reason to call a judge to get permission to ask. If he's going to call a judge, it's because you said NO and he's going to get a warrant.

              I've denied permission to search my vehicle on three occasions,

              And did the cop call a judge prior to asking you for permission on any of those three occasions? Of course not. There is no requirement for him to do so.

              The moment you waver, and say something t

          • There is no law preventing the government from asking without a court order.

            The Electronic Communications Privacy Act [wikipedia.org] (ECPA) should prevent this. Since the FBI is bound to uphold the law, they should certainly not induce or pressure others to violate the law by giving out information that the ECPA says should be withheld from the government. It is very troubling that both the FBI and phone companies had no trouble in playing fast and loose with ECPA.

            In order for the FBI to get information from the phone companies without having to seek a warrant, they needed to certify that the i

            • by timmarhy (659436)
              DID YOU EVEN READ YOUR OWN DAMN LINK?!! "Under the ECPA it is relatively easy for a governmental agency to demand service providers hand over consumer data that has been stored on servers."
              • Of course I read the link. I didn't say anything about the difficulty of obtaining said information. The original story laid out just how easy it was. At times, a simple phone call or a post-it note was enough. It was also illegal, which was my point. The ECPA says when and how you can get information without a warrant. It lays out specific conditions. If those conditions are not met, then the data access is illegal.

                I posted the link to refute the various statements I see that claim that it is legal

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timmarhy (659436)
          this is one reason the USA is going down the tubes - the idea that everything needs to tie up court time.

          government agents are legally allowed to ask for the teleco's co operation, and the teleco can refuse or provide the info. IF the teleco refuses and the FBI wishs to pursue it and FORCE them to comply, THEN it requires a court order.

          people, why is this concept so hard to grasp? every communications contract i've ever seen states clearly they will assist law enforcement, and makes zero promise to protec

          • by FLEB (312391)

            every communications contract i've ever seen states clearly they will assist law enforcement, and makes zero promise to protect you from investigation.

            And this is (part of) the problem.

      • there is nothing illegal about a service provider handing over their own data

        The Electronic Communications Privacy Act [wikipedia.org] (ECPA) disagrees with you. This law restricts what communications information can be shared with government agencies. It still makes it too easy for the government to get information, but it at least requires the FBI to certify that the information requested is part of a counterterrorism investigation (in that case no judicial intervention is required). The report in the article points out that the FBI was not even following the ridiculously easy rules laid out b

    • by Obfuscant (592200)
      There could be a law in the way requiring... wait, they're already doing this despite there being laws in the way!

      Exactly what law is in the way of the FBI making a request for information and the source giving it to them?

      Now, there's a requirement for warrants and stuff if the source isn't cooperative, but gosh if I can find a law that says the FBI cannot ASK for information without a warrant. The only ones I know say that they cannot DEMAND it without one.

      ...and the service provider is glad to not tel

    • That's part of the problem is that these companies get so overly cooperative that the FBI doesn't have to bother with proper procedure, and so doesn't because it is easier.

      We've run in to that on occasion. The FBI will want some info and we are more than happy to provide it. However, being that I work at a university, they have to do it right and get a subpoena and all that. The has vexed them before and taken way longer than it should. They don't get mad or threatening or anything, it just seems like it ha

    • by orlanz (882574)

      Law enforcement thinks they're above the law

      I don't think you understand how it works in the US. Let me clarify:

      Major Industry Association
      Lobbyists
      Rich People
      Big Business
      Dept. of Justice
      Politicians
      President
      Foreign Nations & Laws
      Law Enforcement
      Law
      Stupid Rich People
      Really poor People
      Small Business
      Everyone else.
      Piece of Dog Poo
      YOU reading this.

      See? Now what did you learn? Ans: Don't look up!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by penguinbrat (711309)
      I'd be curious to know if there was some kind of unofficial threat from the FBI that if the given operator doesn't comply they will be investigated for impeding the given investigation or something - as we all know we are breaking some kind of law at any given moment, although with the newly in acted laws for national security due to terrorism, we are probably violating these as well at any given time - let alone in the past...
    • > The FBI doesn't like letting the target of their investigations
      > know they're been snooped upon... and the service provider is glad
      > to not tell you they've violated their own privacy policy by giving
      > out info without the proof that they're being legally obligated to
      > do so.

      Great point. In fact, most contracts with Telco's have in some form
      or another this (paraphrased): "We won't share your information with
      any third parties unless LEGALLY REQUIRED to do so by law enforcement
      etc.".
      There's a

  • ThePlanet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:38PM (#30840554)

    From an ex-employee who worked there, I have heard FBI agents walk into TP's data center with their own key cards, pull whatever they want and on the way out, wave at the guy running the DC while dropping off the necessary paperwork on the way out.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      From an ex-employee who worked there, I have heard FBI agents walk into TP's data center with their own key cards, pull whatever they want and on the way out, wave at the guy running the DC while dropping off the necessary paperwork on the way out.

      Ah, if you're going to be that ignorant about how you run a Data Center, why in the hell even require any "necessary paperwork"? Obviously no one cares what they take, so what's the point of a paper trail?

  • "LAW ENFORCEMENT" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:49PM (#30840654)

    Break the law, go to jail!

    • by goldaryn (834427) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @11:50PM (#30841944) Homepage

      Break the law, go to jail!

      I find your ideas fascinating, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 2obvious4u (871996)
      My dad had a saying "Plain and simple its against the law." This would be when he was telling me not to do something. Usually it was him telling me not to speed.

      Now that I'm the Dad I realize that that is the dumbest saying ever. Its not simple, idiots make stupid laws. People don't look at statistics, they become emotionally attached to a cause and throw all logic out the window and then pass a super restrictive law that really doesn't do any good. The majority of the population can break these dumb
  • The FBI director's password was written on the back of the post-it note.

  • Unrelatedly (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:51PM (#30840676) Journal

    The FBI used these phone records to send a text message to a New York based purse theif asking him to turn himself in, in which he kindly obliged.

  • But was it an official FBI 3M PostIt Note?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:57PM (#30840752)

    I propose that yro be renamed wro - What Rights Online?

  • by tool462 (677306) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @08:59PM (#30840760)

    Curse Romy and Michelle [imdb.com] for inventing something that the government is using to spy on it's own people!

    I say we hang them for treason!

  • by syousef (465911) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:04PM (#30840808) Journal

    Wrote on a post-it-note "Want $2,000,000" in small unmarked notes. All they did was have me arrested:( Clearly I need to work on my social engineering skills. Maybe next time I won't walk in with my helmet on, so they can see my big friendly smile.

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:06PM (#30840824) Homepage Journal

    I don't really care about my phone records (I never really call anyone anyway). But how hard is it for them to sift through my credit card records looking for dirt?

    • by pembo13 (770295)

      One or two queries to their database

    • I don't really care about my phone records (I never really call anyone anyway). But how hard is it for them to sift through my credit card records looking for dirt?

      Not as hard as it should be. :(

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @09:25PM (#30840976)
    ... that there are those, even a major cable news network, who want to return to the days of the Bush era. What are they fuckin' thinking? Are they even thinking at all?
  • The report refers to three telecom providers that placed employees in FBI offices, but it does not name the operators.

    That should scare you even more than using post-it notes..

  • You could be thrown into Guantanamo forever if the President declared you an enemy combatant. No post-it or evidence required.

  • It's kinda like that keep your pant's off the ground Rap.

    F- a cloud, i hate even the concept of the Cloud.

    I started out with a box that went out to the world and just came back(BBS), (it was by phone modem for the younger ones out there) not this James Bond/Enemy of the State stuff. It's getting Stupid.

    • by Zorque (894011)

      I don't really know what you're saying or how it relates to the story, but good job being overcoming your schizophrenia enough to able to click "submit"!

      • Ok.

        Maybe i made a mistake, it happens.

        I mean't if you keep everything in your head instead of relying on some easily accessable device (Post-it or Thumbdrive) you might not get caught. But only if your'e a criminal.

        I'm not.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday January 20, 2010 @10:43PM (#30841520)

    I'll believe it is a "damning" report when I see the FBI Director forced to "retire" over this. Not bloody likely.

    Yeah, I know this kind of shit probably went on pre-9/11. It was likely kept a bit more secret then. I just have a problem with the whole "yeah, so what if I did...What the fuck are YOU gonna do about it?" mentality they seem to take today with it, that's all. They don't operate along side, around, or even above the law. They just don't give a fuck anymore because everyone was issued a master key labeled "anti-terrorism". Why should I be worried about a terrorist attack when I'm too busy being attacked by my own Government?

    I find it absurdly ironic that the "Justice" Department released this. Why do we have that Department again? They don't seem to be doing much these days to earn their name or the billions we pour into it.

  • But it was a really, really impressive Post-It note...

  • Conclusions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darth Cider (320236) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:35AM (#30842664)

    The obvious inferences, which aren't being expressed here so far, are:

    1. Journalists are still important, in that they dig up this kind of information.
    2. We all knew this would happen, after the relaxation of civil liberties laws.
    3. There are probably worse things going on that we will never know about.
    4. It's patriotic to insist that law enforcement personnel do what is right, and obey the law, and not look for ways to subvert it or bend the rules, because otherwise they are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    It's human nature to take the easy way and do what is expedient, which is how it plays out in TV cop shows. But in the real world, these guys have to do what is right, for the sake of the light of liberty - which is incredibly fragile. They're supposed to be defenders of the Constitution, which is a very fragile idea about freedom. I hope the agencies involved see the big picture and understand what is really at stake, rather than get defensive and cynical about troublesome rules and regulations that "only make their work harder."

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @03:55AM (#30843358) Homepage

    Why aren't these people prosecuted ??

    I mean, in a country where the average Joe gets in big trouble for telling the wrong joke at a airport you would have thought this to be a more serious crime ?!?

    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      Why aren't these people prosecuted ??

      That would boil down to the president prosecuting himself, according to the unitary executive theory. (Never forget that prosecutors are part of the executive branch.)

  • In Soviet Russia, KGB gets your phone records.

    Congrats, USA! Well-done.

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