The Federal Bureau of Intrusion
Posted on Jun 14, 2007
Disturbing news from the FBI: The top U.S. intelligence agency recently underwent an internal audit, which produced some pretty creepy results. Even in a small sampling of the agency’s activities (the survey covered 10% of the whole organization, according to The Washington Post), the bureau was found to have violated privacy laws and agency rules some 1,000 times while monitoring phone calls, e-mails and other communications.
The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files, which mostly concerned suspected terrorist or espionage activities.
But two dozen of the newly-discovered violations involved agents’ requests for information that U.S. law did not allow them to have, according to the audit results provided to The Washington Post. Only two such examples were identified earlier [in a smaller sample taken in March].
Paging George Orwell: Mistakes in the FBI’s domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews with The Washington Post.