Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Domestic Spying ~ FBI Pledges To Clean Up Its Act

Granted, Americans have terribly short attention spans, but this is beyond bizzare !~
Wasn't it just a week or two ago that we Americans were absolutely shocked to learn that the FBI had been spying on us under the very loose provisions of the Patriot Act, prompting Director Robert Meuller to offer his profound apologies that the FBI wasn't even following its own rules concerning documentation after demanding that phone companies, internet service providers & credit bureaus disgorge records, never mind having to show that an an ongoing investigation was in the works.
Long story short: your government can spy on you for any reason or no reason at all. No connection with terrorism need be shown to a court ~ that might take too long.
The abuses were met with stern warnings from some in Congress ~ maybe even a repeal of the Patriot Act, remember? And Meuller promised to clean things up. I don't know about you, but his idea of "cleaning things up" seems to be a very disingenuous ploy to circumvent even the outrageously loose original requirements.
Comes news today that if the problem was that FBI agents couldn't get around to doing even the minimal paperwork required (we assume that means making the barest effort to justify "probable cause" for such an outrageous act as spying on our own population ~ or at least that's what lawyers tend to think is necessary under the circumstances )~ the only logical solution is to drop entirely any semblance of that requirement.
According to the WaPo today (title bar):
With respect to phone records,
"Agents...have been relieved of a paperwork burden that was at the heart of past problems, officials said.
"Under past procedures, agents sent 'exigent circumstances letters' to phone companies, seeking toll records by asserting there was an emergency. Then they were expected to issue a grand jury subpoena or a or a 'national security letter,' which legally authorized the collection after the fact.
"Agents often did not follow up with that paperwork, the inspector general's investigation found.
"The new instructions tell agents there is no need to follow up with national security letters or subpoenas. The agents are also told that the new letter template is the preferred method in emergencies but that they may make requests orally, with no paperwork sent to phone companies. Such oral requests have been made over the years in terrorism and kidnapping cases, officials said."
Your Demon Princess is continually astounded with the weird illogic that always seems to carry the day in BushWorld.
Away, bothersome paperwork! Carte blanche to do whatever I want, whenever I want ~ with no more compelling justification than I want to & the requisite idle curiosity, I can spy on my friends & neighbors & vet my future husbands (who will be sorry they married me in any event---I may as well make the most of it).

Where does Demon Princess apply for such a powerful position with so little accountability? She's there!



Blogger Librocrat said...

Yep. See the New York Times today on Protest Spying for the GOP convention. Crazy stuff.

1:25 PM  

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