The Education Department has admitted to searching through millions of student loan records on behalf of the FBI. The government says the operation, known as ?Project Strike Back,? was meant to uncover information on individuals allegedly related to terror investigations.

The FBI defended the program, claiming intelligence suggested would-be terrorists attempted to use student loans to fund their nefarious schemes, which might finally explain Bush?s hostility to Pell Grants.

Los Angeles Times:

The project ? first disclosed by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism ? is similar to cooperative, sometimes secret arrangements that the FBI made with other federal agencies to gain information about terror suspects since Sept. 11.

But the idea of the government trolling through massive databases containing information on ordinary citizens has concerned privacy advocates. The sleuthing comes against a backdrop of even more aggressive moves that U.S. terror hunters have made since Sept. 11, such as monitoring phone calls without a court order.

The FBI said the searches were limited and triggered by intelligence indicating that terrorists were exploiting student visa and loan programs.


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