Tuesday :: May 2, 2006

Bush Administration Sought Personal Information On Thousands Of Americans Without Getting Court Warrants


by Steve

Well, look what the FBI put out in the late Friday afternoon news dump. The Bush Administration sought personal information on thousands of Americans in 2005, through FBI “national security letters” to banks, Internet service providers, and other businesses, all without getting a court order or presumably establishing probable cause. (I’m sure this will lead to a raft of privacy policy lawsuits against those banks and Internet providers)

In a report to the top leaders of both parties in the House, the department disclosed that the FBI had issued more than 9,200 "national security letters," or NSLs, seeking detailed information about more than 3,500 U.S. citizens or legal residents in 2005.
"This tells us why they didn't want to tell us in the past how many of these they were actually using," said Caroline Fredrickson, Washington legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union. "The idea that this kind of power resides in the hands of so many people at the FBI with no court oversight is very troubling."

Note that these are fishing expeditions under the cover of "national security letters", again without establishing to a judge why they want the information. Are there really thousands of American citizens talking with Al Qaeda on the other end of the phone or email?

And that pesky FISA court that is gumming up the works for our terra’ fighting president and Abu Gonzales? Remember the claims that the court is too slow and may not be flexible enough in this new “war”?

The Justice Department report also outlined a continued increase in the use of secret warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. The secret court that oversees the law approved a record 2,072 orders for clandestine searches or surveillance in 2005 -- an 18 percent increase from the year before.

And was the FISA court a hindrance to our terra’ fighting president?

At the FISA court, the number of warrants for clandestine searches and surveillance has more than doubled in the past five years, according to government figures. The court -- which historically has refused only a handful of warrant applications -- did not reject any of the government's requests last year, although two cases were withdrawn by Justice before a ruling was issued, the report said.

So tell me again why Bush doesn’t want to comply with the existing law?

Steve :: 8:01 AM :: Comments (3) :: TrackBack (0) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!