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The FBI Has Been Violating Your Liberties in Ways That May Shock You

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As Congress seeks to renew the Patriot Act, new information exposes egregious FBI violations.

Last week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT, introduced legislation to extend the Patriot Act past its February 28 expiration date to December 2013. Though the extension once again saves some of the most nefarious, First-Amendment trampling provisions of the act — roving wiretaps, secret access to third-party records, the hunting of targets unaffiliated with foreign powers – Leahy released a statement assuring us that the new extension will increase citizen protections.

“It will promote transparency and expand privacy and civil liberties safeguards in current law,” he said in a statement. “It increases judicial oversight of government surveillance powers that capture information on Americans. This is a package of reforms that all Americans should support.” The expanded bill would require the Department of Justice to issue public reports and generally expand oversight.

But will token rights-preserving provisions matter if the FBI refuses to comply?

Over the last decade, the FBI has been found to violate the Constitution countless times under the guise of the Patriot Act, including a 2007 scandal that led FBI head Robert Mueller to publicly apologize for the preponderance of security abuses, misconduct and violation of civil liberties on his watch. We’ve known since its enactment in 2001 that the Patriot Act, with its gross expansion of law enforcement power and murky reporting requirements, was just a rulebook waiting to be spoiled.

But according to a new report released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the FBI’s violations go far beyond what has been reported.

Since July 2009, EFF has been involved in litigation with seven different federal agencies for ignoring EFF’s requests for information submitted in 2008. In December 2009, the CIA, NSA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and Department of State were ordered by the Court to comply with EFF’s requests under the Freedom of Information Act, though it did not receive the complete papers from the FBI until October 2010.

The resulting 2,500-page document consists of FBI reports to the citizen-run Intelligence Oversight Board during the years 2001-2008. Consistently, documents released from the IOB reveal investigations of abuse that often have not been reported to Congress or the Department of Justice as required. But EFF’s analysis, pored over for several months, illuminates exactly how, when and why these investigations happened, and the results are shocking.

First, the numbers: EFF found that, since 9/11, the FBI has been responsible for up to 40,000 violations. Most often, said violations included bucking guidelines for internal oversight, abusing the National Security Letters and trampling on the Fourth Amendment. This, in tandem with the IOB’s weakened capacity for oversight under President George W. Bush, has resulted in nothing short of disaster. In 2008, Bush revoked the IOB’s right to refer violations to the Attorney General, and eliminated the agency’s requirement to report quarterly to the IOB. As EFF found, “The FBI’s disregard for its own internal oversight requirements and the Bureau’s failure to timely report violations to the IOB undermined the safeguards established to protect civil liberties violations from occurring.” While the Obama administration restored a few of those changes, it still has not provided the proper transparency needed for a true citizen-protective oversight board or fully disclosed its makeup.

Some of the more egregious abuses, according to EFF’s report:
– Private entities such as phone companies, banks and Internet providers assisted the FBI’s National Security Letters abuse with alarming frequency, turning over information without valid legal justification in more than half of all case.
– Between 2001-2008, the average time between when a violation was committed, and when it was reported to the IOB, was 2.5 years.
– During that same time frame, the FBI was found to have submitted false or inaccurate documents to courts, used “improper evidence” to obtain subpoenas, and accessed password-protected documents without a warrant.

This is government spying, in no uncertain terms.

In his bill to renew the Patriot Act, Senator Leahy called for “a higher standard” from the government, including “a statement of facts showing reasonable grounds to believe the tangible things are relevant to an authorized investigation and pertain to (a) an agent of a foreign power, (b) the activities of a suspected agent, or (c) an individual in contact with or known to a suspected agent of foreign power.”

Lip service is mighty, but without true reform to the articles like Lone Wolf, It’s likely the FBI won’t stop stampeding our rights anytime soon.


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3 Responses to " The FBI Has Been Violating Your Liberties in Ways That May Shock You "

  1. JamesTheJust says:

    “It will promote transparency and expand privacy and civil liberties safeguards in current law,” he said in a statement. “It increases judicial oversight of government surveillance powers that capture information on Americans.

    Politicians are bald faced liars! Their double-speak is a way for them to destroy our constitution while hoping we’ll be happy about it.

    The Bolsheviks destroyed Russia with a frontal attack, these decedents of these same Bolsheviks are using sly methods this time.

    Is Leahy jewish?

    Tesco (a leading retail outlet) was founded by jews and its current leader is “Sir Terry Leahy” a jew.

    http:// http://www.thejc.com/business/alex-brummer-business/38162/the-yiddishe-roots-ms-and-tesco

    By their fruits you will know them:

    Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

    Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- Vt.(), the Senate Judiciary chairman, has attached hate crimes legislation to the defense authorization bill.

    That’s good news for a bunch of Jewish groups, starting with the Anti-Defamation League, which have been pressing for the legislation – which would broaden existing federal hate crimes laws to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability – for a decade.

    http:// http://www.thejewishweek.com/category/person/patrick_leahy

    And there are many, many instances where Leahy is used by jews. Jews are noted for changing their names when necessary; especially when they are in high places.

    Rosenfelt becomes Roosevelt

    Bronstein becomes Lenin

    Djugashvili (Jewison) becomes Stalin…

    I hope you all realize by now that all proof points to the fact that jews were responsible for 911.

    They have been the ones pushing for the destruction of our freedoms.

    If this bill is not renewed, I can promise you that the jews will pull another 911. They will frighten you into giving up your freedoms.

    This is their M.O. This is their history!

    You really need to wake up.

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  2. x mark says:

    well i was going 2 say some thing about all the liers that we let run us , but u pritty well covered it . by tha way i enjoyed your lill exchange with all the un- whatevers on that obama , china thing james, and let us give a shout out to these reporters that try 2 bring u s a little bit of what most try 2 hide. keep it up

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    • JamesTheJust says:

      You’re welcome XMark. We have to keep up the Good Fight. And I really do love my kinspeople and I want them to wake up before they are caught unawares. Time is short. The jews are desparate. (That’s always a dangerous time for our people.)

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