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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations 268

Posted by timothy
from the man-v-state-the-case-that-never-ends dept.
An anonymous reader writes "EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 — 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed. Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds: Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board; reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant; and indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11."
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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

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  • Of course they did (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ravenspear (756059) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:20PM (#35052400)

    If you give the government an inch, they take a mile.

    We've seen it before.

    With this being known fact, the politicians are to blame for enacting the Patriot Act without even reading it just because they needed something to trumpet in the media that would appear patriotic after 9/11.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:34PM (#35052490) Journal

      What we need is a long, continuously updated list of every time our concerns have been assuaged by a promise that "the new powers will only be used in these specific and necessary circumstances". Then we add to the list documentary evidence of those promises being broken. Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

      • by besalope (1186101) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:53PM (#35052634)
        That won't accomplish anything. The proles will just change the channel to their "American Idol" or other similar drivel when they get bored. The American public is too apathetic about the political institution in this country to actual pay attention to what it does or to even have a hope of real change.
        • by icebike (68054)

          The list would accomplish nothing, but having civil recourse as a victim would make fun reading.
          Especially since every report to congress (even if two years late) is a defacto admission. No law suit should be necessary, just send the check.

        • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:28PM (#35052812) Homepage Journal

              Too bad there isn't a "Sad but true" moderation.

              Most people ignore things that don't directly involve them. Who cares if [insert agency] commits [insert action] against [someone else]. Until someone finds out that a questionable legal wire tap implicated them in some sort of crime, which could lead to serious jail time through new means, they could care less. As you said, they'll flip over to American Idol and otherwise numb their brains to oblivion.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jhoegl (638955)
            Although I wish differently, this is correct.
            It is interesting to note how many people are apathetic to anothers plight until they have knowledge of a person that they are close to in that same plight.
            While it is true we can not fix the world, we can at least listen and give voice to our opposition.
            Unfortunately, even those that speak of these incidents are also under attack, labeled as "liberal" or "democrat" which somehow translates to "Commies".
            Brain washed masses indeed.
          • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @11:38PM (#35053462) Journal

            Just for a moment let's give the public a mite more credit. I peg them at "we're upset but what can we really do?"

            60's style protests don't work anymore. The tempo is wrong - Gov makes a 3/4 concession, keeps 1/4 of the evil, then slides a nasty twist on their concession as a dessert. Thing is, there's no "timeline" on this one - there's no "are we done yet" to know when we can do the 50's period of recovery. It's a thundering case of cabin fever where we all go crazy.

            • by MrKaos (858439) on Monday January 31, 2011 @12:31AM (#35053740) Journal

              Just for a moment let's give the public a mite more credit. I peg them at "we're upset but what can we really do?"

              Lobby. They have computers, they have word processors. 1 letter and a mail merge reaches a whole lot of politicians. I've done it and it works. They will ignore an email but a respectful single page letter gets a lot of attention. So apathy is a pretty good description.

              Best regards

              John Citizen

            • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe AT jwsmythe DOT com> on Monday January 31, 2011 @01:32AM (#35053990) Homepage Journal

              Well, what I would see happening is a serious civil "unrest". It would be when the people take back their power from the government, and act in ways the people want.

              Consider what has happened in the past. Not only in the short past of the United States of America, but all around the world.

              Those with the ability organize and do things for change. That isn't misguided attempts [usatoday.com] drawn from the rantings of a horrible example of a pseudo-leader [google.com].

              It is all of us, forming to stand up against what is wrong. "Legal" methods may not be enough. A letter writing campaign, and a few hundred of your friends standing on the sidewalk in front of the Congressional buildings with signs and chanting the slogan of the moment obviously has no effect. The 60's style protests didn't work in the 60's. They are, and always will be, an ineffective form of protest.

              I have to say the following disclaimer. Assume it's in huge bolt text, flashing at you. I AM NOT RECOMMENDING, SUGGESTING, OR OTHERWISE INCITING ANY ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

              Before anyone reads any farther, go read that statement again. If you still don't get it, put down your gun and your beer, sober up, and read it again until it makes sense.

              So what would it take to bring change?

              60's sit-ins, peaceful protests, peaceful assemblies, petitions, letter writing campaigns, and free-love-ins, just won't work. Well, I'm still for the free-love-ins, but we'll save those for another conversation. :)

              The "Rally to Restore Sanity" brought about 250,000 people to Washington DC, and countless others who couldn't attend who supported from home. I was one of the later, as I couldn't afford to drive, fly, or walk to DC.

              With 250,000 people standing there wanting to make change, they made speeches, and went home. The folks in power may have noted that something happened, but really their appearance didn't do anything except raise the total tourism dollars for DC by a little for 2010.

              If you have 250,000 people who believe in your side enough to even show up, you have an army. Imagine those people walking into the US Capitol Building (and other assorted buildings) [wikipedia.org].

              I would personally be proud to walk to the front of the group, stand in front of the representatives who are doing wrong and say "Sir, I represent these people, citizens of the United States of America. We do not believe that you are representing the needs, wants, and beliefs of the constituents who you have sworn to represent. We as the representatives of your constituents we respectively ask you to resign immediately and exit this building."

              There are plenty of people among us, who would be excellent leaders. We wouldn't accept corruption. We have better morals than to take bribes in any form.

              That sir, is how you make change in a totally non-violent way. Not one shot is fired. Not one person is injured (except for maybe the occasional trip and fall hazard). The only violence would come from the law enforcement professionals who some may take an unconstitutional stand against the people.

              It is said that we have the "Four boxes of liberty", the soap, ballot, jury, and ammo boxes. There is no need to go to the fourth, unless the powers that be decide to use it against the citizens standing up for their rights. In reality, a couple hundred thousand people standing there saying "we want change", and really meaning it, do not have any reason to use violence. Well, except for possibly gently moving anyone who may try to block their way. You can be assured that someone in a uniform will

              • by Velex (120469)

                I AM NOT RECOMMENDING, SUGGESTING, OR OTHERWISE INCITING ANY ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

                Then you go on to say

                If you have 250,000 people who believe in your side enough to even show up, you have an army. Imagine those people walking into the US Capitol Building (and other assorted buildings [congressional office buildings]).

                Right now I'm imagining it, except they get greeted with riot police telling them to go home because they are demonstrating without a permit.

                The rally to restore sanity (and Glenn Beck's rally for that matter) only took place because the powers that be knew that they would do next to nothing.

                Would they turn and run as soon as the first police officer showed up? Would they run home after the first tear gas grenade is thrown into the crowd, or the first rubber bullet fired? Unfortunately, I would guess that they would.

                Well, they damned better unless you ACTUALLY ARE inciting an illegal activity.

                The civil rights movement didn't care about breaking the laws they disagreed with. That's the difference. Non

              • by easterberry (1826250) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:57AM (#35055298)

                The problem with this is that you assume the people you're marching with have the same idea of what they want as you do.

                I can make my army of people for a government that cares about the greater good of the people instead of corporate interest and it sounds nice and all but what does it really mean? Are we saying we want a single payer medical system so the poor don't get left behind? or are we complaining that they even considered such an option? Are we upset about going to war or about leaving too early? Do we need the government to give us more or less gun control and what makes you sure everyone marching all agree on any of these points?

                I can make my army of the people, and you can make yours and the government doesn't have to do a thing because we both consider each other a group of dangerous lunatics who must be stopped before they send our country spiraling into a warfare/welfare state. And this isn't because we're brainwashed. It's because we intrinsically don't all agree. That's why the election is so close to 50/50. I think the people who want to run around with guns and hate government healthcare are wrong and they thing the same about me. You can't make an army for the unified voice of the people because there is no "unified voice of the people".

          • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Monday January 31, 2011 @01:59AM (#35054058)

            Until someone finds out that a questionable legal wire tap implicated them in some sort of crime, which could lead to serious jail time through new means, they could care less.

            So what you're saying is that they care at least a little bit?

            I'll let David Mitchell [youtube.com] elaborate.

        • That won't accomplish anything. The proles will just change the channel to their "American Idol" or other similar drivel when they get bored. The American public is too apathetic about the political institution in this country to actual pay attention to what it does or to even have a hope of real change.

          And if you need another example. Just change "American Idol" to Slashdot.

      • What we need is a long, continuously updated list of every time our concerns have been assuaged by a promise that "the new powers will only be used in these specific and necessary circumstances". Then we add to the list documentary evidence of those promises being broken. Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

        I think I saw that list. It's in the dictionary.

        http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=unity [princeton.edu]

      • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

        Like Net Neutrality?

        Or are you the only one allowed to use the "slippery-slope" argument?

        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          I may be missing something obvious here, but I don't see what you're getting at regarding net neutrality; are you saying 'we' broke a promise made about that?

          • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

            I'm saying the "slippery-slope" gets a double standard around here.

            Government regulation of the internets? There's no way that could go wrong!

            Law enforcement activities? OMG! Give them and inch and they take a mile!!! Patriot Act!!! ATTICA!!!

            If we need a list of thing the government STARTED with then expanded their grasps to include, and never relinquished control of, you might just find quite a few of the things you agree with and kept quiet about.

            • by MoonBuggy (611105)

              OK, I see where you're coming from now, but I disagree with your conclusion. I'm not making a point in either direction about government control in general, I'm talking about dishonesty - if they introduced a net neutrality bill and their actions remained within its remit, that's fine, if their actions go beyond that remit, even in a manner that I happen to agree with, that's unacceptable. If they introduce a security bill and stay within its remit, same applies - I might object to the bill itself, but I wo

      • Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

        We do. It doesn't make it onto fox news.

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:46PM (#35052592)
      Unfortunately, no... we are to blame. Stop voting Democrat/Republican if you want to get off this merry-go-round.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:57PM (#35052666)

        I agree whole-heartedly. Governments almost never return power to the people once given.

        Here's a solution to the problem with the FBI. Prosecute each violation vigorously and to the fullest extent of the law. Any member of law enforcement should exemplify the standard and therefore be fully accountable to it. Perjury is typically a felony in most jurisdictions and any FBI agent (or any other agent given special powers) should spend time in federal prison for such a crime. This will provide ample time to consider how they've trampled underfoot the blood of those who died to preserve the freedom Americans enjoy.

        I'M SICK OF THIS ABUSE OF POWER!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:12PM (#35052740)

          Yeah, but who are you going to get to prosecute them. And even if you did find a prosecutor how long do you think it would take before someone visited them off the record to make sure that their case failed.

          Democracy is a sham, we live in republics and the bureaucracy controls the them.

        • by sjbe (173966) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:42PM (#35052862)

          Here's a solution to the problem with the FBI. Prosecute each violation vigorously and to the fullest extent of the law.

          You are asking the government to prosecute itself. Without a person at the top with a highly developed sense of morality it isn't likely to happen within the same branch of government. Even with such a person at the top, political reality may make it impossible. That's why we have separation of powers. It will ONLY happen if a different branch of government is the one who decides to press the issue. Expecting the executive branch to spank itself is simply wishful thinking most of the time. If congress or the judiciary can be prodded into action, then something might happen. Otherwise, forget it.

          For what it's worth I don't expect much out of Congress either. Very easy to score "soft on crime" political points on someone who criticizes the FBI even if the FBI deserves it.

        • by Stray7Xi (698337) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:24AM (#35055196)

          Usually it's not so clear-cut. Who do you prosecute:

          -The manager who was told by the lawyer it was legal and he didn't know the full extent of what was going on.
          -The lawyer who was doing his best attempt to interpret law but came to a different conclusion then the judge
          -The individual executing the wiretap under order from management and who received compliance training from the lawyer who misinterpreted law.

          I would say reprimand the manager and remove him from leadership. Rotate lawyers so they don't get complacent. Finally reprimand the individual and require he have oversight by a coworker for a period. Then conduct retraining of whole office by legal.

          The real problem is when you try to go to the very edge of the line every time, sometimes you'll accidentally cross it with no maliciousness. That's the difference between a novice and an experienced bowler. When it happens it's probably because the individual wasn't trained well enough or didn't have good enough access to legal. I think it's a case of Hanlon's Razor.

          • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday January 31, 2011 @08:37AM (#35055540) Homepage

            Except that in this case, the violations were that clear-cut. And the best argument is that all 3 are potentially guilty of a serious crime.

            If I go to a lawyer and say "Is it legal to rob a bank?" and the lawyer says "Yes, go right ahead", I'm still in trouble if I go to rob a bank. The lawyer may also be considered a co-conspirator, and at the very least should have his bar membership in question. And anyone I work with as part of the plan is also a co-conspirator. Why would the crime of a FISA violation be any different?

          • by Hatta (162192)

            Usually it's not so clear-cut. Who do you prosecute:

            -The manager who was told by the lawyer it was legal and he didn't know the full extent of what was going on.
            -The lawyer who was doing his best attempt to interpret law but came to a different conclusion then the judge
            -The individual executing the wiretap under order from management and who received compliance training from the lawyer who misinterpreted law

            All of the above. I think you'll find that if you were ordered to commit a crime by your management,

      • Sure, just find me an alternative that's better.
        • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:24PM (#35052792)

          the system is broken.

          you guys are arguing about which privileged class gets to run the country.

          I question the very NOTION of a privileged class running the country. enough of the rich bastards having their way and taking care of their own!

          term limits should be ONE. period - no renewals. that removes the 'profit incentive' or rather, the come-back-to-get-more-power incentive. you get one term to make a difference and then you're back to your old job; but with oversight to ensure you didn't make some sweetheart deals for post-office kickbacks. there should be a STRICT no profit restriction on public officials. only get the ones that want to do it 'for the right reasons' and not for the money or power.

          arguing about which of the 2 parties - or even if you can get a 3rd - does not change a damned thing. this is a false-choice that is given to you.

          fix the system, remove this party 'us and them' concept and let each person speak on their own terms, on issues. isn't what what we REALLY want? parties are bullshit and serve no useful purpose but to deceive. why keep that outdated notion?

          • by ChatHuant (801522) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:58PM (#35052944)

            term limits should be ONE. period - no renewals. that removes the 'profit incentive' or rather, the come-back-to-get-more-power incentive. you get one term to make a difference and then you're back to your old job; but with oversight to ensure you didn't make some sweetheart deals for post-office kickbacks.

            Except it won't work. If the official in question knows he won't be in power again, he has no good reason to fix anything; it's not like *he*'ll have to deal with the consequences. On the contrary, he'll have a strong incentive to fill his pockets as much and as quickly as he can, since it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Something similar happened in Eastern Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when Ottoman sultans named merchants of Greek origin [wikipedia.org] as delegate rulers of some of the vassal countries. Those Phanariots got the nomination via massive bribes, and, once the rulership was obtained, their main objective was to recoup the expenses and get rich quick, before somebody else replaced them, That led to massive mismanagement, excessive taxes and general misrule.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Sure, just find me an alternative that's better.

          It's called actually getting to know the candidate and voting candidate by candidate, rather than by party.

          Parties are nothing more than corporations and when you vote for corporations instead of people, you're putting that which is evil (corporate America) in charge of the only entity that can protect us from that evil, our Government.

      • No, it's your forefathers that are to blame.

        While they got heaps of stuff right, FPP voting breeds two-party systems. It's a classic moral dilemma: People who vote for "the better of two evils" get more power from their vote that people who vote for a third party.

        No, you guys need a preferential or proportional system - then you don't have to throw your vote away for the sake of making a point.

    • by Gerzel (240421)

      And most of those politicians got re-elected by us, that us including you.

    • by Lucidus (681639) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @09:34PM (#35052836)
      In every decade since I was born (in the early 50's), the FBI has engaged in egregious misconduct, although sometimes we didn't find out about it until years later. I am amazed that they have any credibility left, and puzzled that people continue to act surprised when these things come to light.
      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @10:15PM (#35053028)

        Keep in mind that it was formed during the great depression to take on Bonny and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly and John Dillinger. The focus from the get go was on results over process. It's a lot better now than it was under J. Edgar Hoover, but that's not really saying much. The first crop of agents were trained very quickly to shoot first and ask questions later if ever.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Incorrect.

          "In 1886, the Supreme Court, in Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific Railway Company v. Illinois, found that the states had no power to regulate interstate commerce. The resulting Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 created a Federal responsibility for interstate law enforcement. The Justice Department made little effort to relieve its staff shortage until the turn of the century, when Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte reached out to other agencies, including the Secret Service, for investigators.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        In every decade since I was born (in the early 50's), the FBI has engaged in egregious misconduct, although sometimes we didn't find out about it until years later. I am amazed that they have any credibility left, and puzzled that people continue to act surprised when these things come to light.

        Is everybody in U.S. of A born in the '50?Are there extensive history classes on FBI abuses, perhaps ending with an exam, on the topic?

  • How long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zeroblitzt (871307) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:21PM (#35052406) Homepage
    How long until this is swept under the rug and American Idol is the headline news again?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices" (emphasis mine). I'd say this won't even get to headline news in the first place.

    • Re:How long? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:33PM (#35052482)
      No need. Our congress voted immunity to the telecoms who violated the law and our privacy, so of course they'll do the same for an agency actually <i>part</i> of the government. Using laws to sanction violations of the law is perverse but hey, you gotta protect your own! These FOIAs are from 2008 or so, so the real test is to file now and see if anything has changed since Obama took over the executive.
    • Uh, it never came out from under the rug. You will hear nothing of this on any cable or radio station.
  • Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomthepom (314977) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:31PM (#35052462)

    ...and indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible crimes in the 9 years since 9/11.

    There, fixed that for you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by b4upoo (166390)

      I do wish those violations were criminal. During the Bush administration many powers were felt to be within the power of the president under a supposed duty to defend the nation. This polluted reasoning filtered down through the Justice department and people like FBI agents doing all kinds of things were allowed. Since we declined to prosecute the Bush Chaney cabal we somewhat lost any right to go after the lower members of the pecking order. Frankly the entire military chain of command up to and inc

  • Morons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:35PM (#35052502)
    So they release this at the exact same time one of the largest middle eastern countries is undergoing a revolution? I EXPECT the FBI to be pulling shit like this, and rely on organizations like the EFF to uncover it. But if the EFF is so Tech and New Media savvy, it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information on a slow news day as apposed to releasing it in the middle of the biggest story to hit the media in the past 2 years? there by assuring it will be completely missed by Mondays new cycle?!?! It's just plain incompetent.
    • .... it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information on a slow news day as apposed to releasing it in the middle of the biggest story to hit the media in the past 2 years?

      I'm fairly certain it will be picked up. Most of the violations were by Special Agent Lindsay Lohan, who posted them from rehab on her Facebook while drunk.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      But if the EFF is so Tech and New Media savvy, it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information...

      Who said that EFF is (or need to be) media savvy?

      Just what happen to the position "news of problems need to travel the fastest?" What if the first "slow news day" will come only in 1 year from now?

      Should everything be subordinated for the "news-tainment consumers" market segment? Should an organisation [eff.org] focused on "protecting your digital rights" be dumbed down to the level of the society instead of attempting to raise the society to its level?

    • So they release this at the exact same time one of the largest middle eastern countries is undergoing a revolution?...But if the EFF is so Tech and New Media savvy, it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information on a slow news day as apposed to releasing it in the middle of the biggest story to hit the media in the past 2 years?

      I'd question how media savvy YOU are if you think events in another country being the top news story ISN'T a "slow news day" in the US. The average citizen doesn't care much about Egypt. They waited until the media couldn't talk about an American politician having sex, a celebrity dying, a celebrity having sex, or someone blowing something up.

      Plus, I've heard plenty of hate here for wikileaks being -too- media savvy, collaborating with media, and releasing it slowly so that the media can't give it just 15

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:40PM (#35052546)

    The summary makes it seem like a big number but if the FBI has ~36K people working for it that's just over 1 violation per employee in those 9 years. I'd expect to make at least one mistake in 9 years.

    • by PPH (736903)

      if the FBI has ~36K people working for it

      Does that include the people mopping the floors at HQ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The summary makes it seem like a big number but if the FBI has ~36K people working for it that's just over 1 violation per employee in those 9 years. I'd expect to make at least one mistake in 9 years.

      I'm sure they made more than one mistake per individual. We are not talking about simple mistakes here. We are talking about violating people's civil rights and then covering it up. That's a lot different than someone making a typo or something.

    • I would expect mistakes to be made as well, but that's a bit short sighted to assume that all of these are actually mistakes, as opposed to intentional abuses of power.
    • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @11:01PM (#35053270)
      "Misconduct" is not "a mistake". You might be used to ending up in jail every 9 years or so, but that's not normal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1 violation of ones civil rights or liberties is too many.

  • They filed their case in early 2009 for documents through 2008. I'd be extremely surprised if anything has changed in 2009 or 2010 (or now in 2011.) Government agencies are not in the habit of giving up powers just because an administration changed. Once you get below the appointee level, its the same folks doing the job regardless of who's running things.
  • WTF (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @08:56PM (#35052662) Homepage Journal

    The FBI has abused its power since its inception. COILTELPRO ring a bell? The FBI has been used to investigate the political enemies of powerful politicians since before most of us were even born. Why should it come as a surprise to anyone to find out that they're still doing it?

    LK

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      And your point is? Here's the list of extremes, but feel free to explain your position:
      1. the FBI must be dismantled as an active organisation
      2. the FBI is good and dandy... get over it, there's no right to privacy for anyone.
      • by Lord Kano (13027)

        3. The FBI can be useful in the actual solving of crimes, but to curb abuses we should prosecute Agents, Special Agents, SACs and directors when they're involved in illegal activity instead of wringing our hands like we do now.

        LK

        • by c0lo (1497653)

          Why should it come as a surprise to anyone to find out that they're still doing it?

          ...to curb abuses we should prosecute Agents, Special Agents, SACs and directors when they're involved in illegal activity instead of wringing our hands like we do now.

          Does EFF sounds to you as an organization with a focus on "wringing their hands" [eff.org]?
          Seems to me the first thing one needs to do is to see if (you "when") illegal activity occurred, wasn't this what EFF has set itself to do in this instance?

    • Why should it come as a surprise to anyone to find out that they're still doing it?

      "Should" is one thing, "would" is another altogether. Most voters don't realize that law enforcement isn't always the good guys. They need to be informed each and every time you catch law enforcement acting up, or law enforcement will be allowed to be completely corrupted.

  • That works out to more than 12 per day. I wonder what 2009-now looks like.
  • In Colombia we're going through a similar situation [aljazeera.net]. Now I don't feel so alone *sigh*
  • by alleycat0 (232486) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @10:32PM (#35053134) Homepage

    Although the Church Committee ostensibly ended COINTELPRO in 1971, revelations such as these that surface every few years make it clear that such tactics have *never* been abandoned by the FBI.

  • by macraig (621737) <.mark.a.craig. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday January 30, 2011 @10:32PM (#35053136)

    You know the shows I'm talking about: the ones that show spooks and law enforcers breaking their own ethical rules (and everyone else's) in the obsessive pursuit of goals and people who have been quietly pre-convicted outside of any court or due process. They just KNOW the person is guilty... they just have to concoct some a-moral scheme to PROVE it!

    These shows plant the seed that such behavior is acceptable. It can't help but have repercussions in the real world, humans being as impressionable as they are. It's "the end justifies the means" yet again. Judicial impartiality? What's that?

    • Come on, the legal system just gums up the works, gets in the way and allows guilty people to walk free. Kind of like scientific method; it just slows down progress. Before that, people knew by feeling what was true and look at all the things that flourished, like astrology, palm reading, fortune telling, alchemy, homeopathy, etc. and were developed before the stagnation of science.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. Along with shows like COPS, DEA, the various SWAT shows, etc. get the population used to the idea of a police state by only showing the "good" things they do so we believe they are only here to help us.

      It's all propaganda.

  • I think they're asleep.
    • by jdogalt (961241)

      It's not at all that those watching the watchers are asleep. In fact, you are replying to an article that proves the exact opposite. No, what my life in the US has taught me, is the utter, utter, utter idiocy of the argument that as long as the watchers are watched, the widespread watching can be an acceptable thing in the name of security.

      I mean seriously, reading slashdot for the last 10 years. The watchers are thoroughly watched. We may only know 10% of what they've done, but we can easily guess the

  • Them again? (Score:2, Funny)

    by tchdab1 (164848)

    Oh my God - who was president during 2001 - 2008? Oh, that guy, the guy that oversaw illegal wiretaps and domestic spying and lying to the nation about reasons for going to war and politicized the justice department and the US Attorneys and the civil rights commission and even the interior department and self-justified torture on captives and outed one of our own agents for political revenge and who refused to consider the need to address climate change and that lowered taxes on the wealthy even more and wh

    • Shame the new guy decided to "look to the future, not the past" and didn't want to even have a commission to look at any wrongdoings. If you are politically connected you can get away with almost anything, both of the main parties are just as bad. Murder (Kennedy and the dead hooker), shooting a guy in the face and not reporting it for a day (Cheney), and all the other things that are so obviously wrong that late night talk shows use them as punchlines.

      I'd like to see actual punishment for crimes, and not

  • Wrong argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snsh (968808) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @11:11PM (#35053322)
    I cringe whenever I see an argument by the ACLU, EFF, etc that something has "compromised the civil liberties of American citizens", because they're making the wrong argument by casting it the opposite way it should be cast.

    When you make a claim like that, the response is always going to be "was any harm done?" and the answer to that is usually "no, no harm was actually done" and then the response to that becomes "stop being a sissy, no harm no foul. unless you're up to something illegal, you've got nothing to worry about."

    What the EFF should be claiming is that "government employees abuse the limits of their power". You have to focus the argument on the action, not the reaction. The way the Constitution is written, it doesn't guarantee the civil liberties of Americans. Instead, it limits the scope of authority of the federal government.
    • Re:Wrong argument (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2011 @12:42AM (#35053772)

      Er.. wrong.

      The U.S. Constitution defines quite specifically 4 things:

      1) Liberties granted to US citizens

      2) Formation of a governmental structure

      3) Powers granted to said structure

      4) Limitations of powers on said structure

      If you are unsure of what the liberties are, I can quote a couple for you. Limiting the powers of the government IS the essential building block of granting civil liberties.

      "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 person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Monday January 31, 2011 @12:35AM (#35053750) Journal
    Your freedom is an illusion.

    There I said it, again.

  • by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday January 31, 2011 @12:51AM (#35053810)

    You're surprised exactly...why? The government is CORRUPT. It has been since before I was born, and it will be long after I die. If it's not in its current form, it will be in some other way invading our lives in ways we disagree with.

    My question now is: So now that the EFF found this out, what exactly do they plan to do about it? Is this one of those "Well we found out about it, but fixing it is someone else's gig!" organizations?

    I only ask because those help nobody, and I wish that everyone involved with them would choke on their misplaced self-satisfaction and do us the courtesy of dying.

  • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Monday January 31, 2011 @01:16AM (#35053916)

    When an individual breaks the law 3 times?......Habitual Offender or 3 time loser
    When a small groups breaks the law 100 times?..... Gang or organized crime
    When a large group breaks the law 40,000 times?.....A government agency

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:53AM (#35055284)
    Obama will just give them a free pass, as he did for AT&T's warrantless wiretapping while in the Senate. While Obama is part Kenyan, by his actions and inactions, he appears to have a bit of Penobscott-Bush heritage as well.
  • In related news (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday January 31, 2011 @07:59AM (#35055314)
    Republican Representative Darrel Issa wants the name of everyone who has filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

    Exhuming McCarthy, indeed.

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