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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the man-v-state-the-case-that-never-ends dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 268

An anonymous reader writes "EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 — 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed. Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds: Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board; reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant; and indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11."

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Of course they did (5, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052400)

If you give the government an inch, they take a mile.

We've seen it before.

With this being known fact, the politicians are to blame for enacting the Patriot Act without even reading it just because they needed something to trumpet in the media that would appear patriotic after 9/11.

Re:Of course they did (5, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052490)

What we need is a long, continuously updated list of every time our concerns have been assuaged by a promise that "the new powers will only be used in these specific and necessary circumstances". Then we add to the list documentary evidence of those promises being broken. Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

Re:Of course they did (3, Insightful)

besalope (1186101) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052634)

That won't accomplish anything. The proles will just change the channel to their "American Idol" or other similar drivel when they get bored. The American public is too apathetic about the political institution in this country to actual pay attention to what it does or to even have a hope of real change.

Re:Of course they did (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052686)

The list would accomplish nothing, but having civil recourse as a victim would make fun reading.
Especially since every report to congress (even if two years late) is a defacto admission. No law suit should be necessary, just send the check.

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052812)

    Too bad there isn't a "Sad but true" moderation.

    Most people ignore things that don't directly involve them. Who cares if [insert agency] commits [insert action] against [someone else]. Until someone finds out that a questionable legal wire tap implicated them in some sort of crime, which could lead to serious jail time through new means, they could care less. As you said, they'll flip over to American Idol and otherwise numb their brains to oblivion.

Re:Of course they did (2, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052942)

Although I wish differently, this is correct.
It is interesting to note how many people are apathetic to anothers plight until they have knowledge of a person that they are close to in that same plight.
While it is true we can not fix the world, we can at least listen and give voice to our opposition.
Unfortunately, even those that speak of these incidents are also under attack, labeled as "liberal" or "democrat" which somehow translates to "Commies".
Brain washed masses indeed.

Re:Of course they did (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052904)

That won't accomplish anything. The proles will just change the channel to their "American Idol" or other similar drivel when they get bored. The American public is too apathetic about the political institution in this country to actual pay attention to what it does or to even have a hope of real change.

And if you need another example. Just change "American Idol" to Slashdot.

Re:Of course they did (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052648)

hopefully after 1000 times; they would, so a year maybe

Re:Of course they did (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052888)

What we need is a long, continuously updated list of every time our concerns have been assuaged by a promise that "the new powers will only be used in these specific and necessary circumstances". Then we add to the list documentary evidence of those promises being broken. Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

I think I saw that list. It's in the dictionary.

http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=unity [princeton.edu]

Re:Of course they did (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052998)

What we need is a long, continuously updated list of every time our concerns have been assuaged by a promise that "the new powers will only be used in these specific and necessary circumstances". Then we add to the list documentary evidence of those promises being broken.

Start with the Magna Carta and work forward?
_EVERY_ time the government is given a power it is eventually abused.

Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

If any reading is done in front of legislators, it should at least start with the bill itself. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Of course they did (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053046)

Like Net Neutrality?

Or are you the only one allowed to use the "slippery-slope" argument?

Re:Of course they did (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053126)

I may be missing something obvious here, but I don't see what you're getting at regarding net neutrality; are you saying 'we' broke a promise made about that?

Re:Of course they did (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053250)

I'm saying the "slippery-slope" gets a double standard around here.

Government regulation of the internets? There's no way that could go wrong!

Law enforcement activities? OMG! Give them and inch and they take a mile!!! Patriot Act!!! ATTICA!!!

If we need a list of thing the government STARTED with then expanded their grasps to include, and never relinquished control of, you might just find quite a few of the things you agree with and kept quiet about.

Re:Of course they did (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053374)

OK, I see where you're coming from now, but I disagree with your conclusion. I'm not making a point in either direction about government control in general, I'm talking about dishonesty - if they introduced a net neutrality bill and their actions remained within its remit, that's fine, if their actions go beyond that remit, even in a manner that I happen to agree with, that's unacceptable. If they introduce a security bill and stay within its remit, same applies - I might object to the bill itself, but I would respect their integrity in creating it.

It's not that complicated to realise that one can object to something on general principle even if it happens to be beneficial in that specific case. To do otherwise would be to exhibit exactly the hypocrisy that I am decrying.

Re:Of course they did (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053376)

Start reading it out every time a politician tries to make a new promise to that effect, and see how long it is before people get the point.

We do. It doesn't make it onto fox news.

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052592)

Unfortunately, no... we are to blame. Stop voting Democrat/Republican if you want to get off this merry-go-round.

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052666)

I agree whole-heartedly. Governments almost never return power to the people once given.

Here's a solution to the problem with the FBI. Prosecute each violation vigorously and to the fullest extent of the law. Any member of law enforcement should exemplify the standard and therefore be fully accountable to it. Perjury is typically a felony in most jurisdictions and any FBI agent (or any other agent given special powers) should spend time in federal prison for such a crime. This will provide ample time to consider how they've trampled underfoot the blood of those who died to preserve the freedom Americans enjoy.

I'M SICK OF THIS ABUSE OF POWER!

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052740)

Yeah, but who are you going to get to prosecute them. And even if you did find a prosecutor how long do you think it would take before someone visited them off the record to make sure that their case failed.

Democracy is a sham, we live in republics and the bureaucracy controls the them.

Self prosecution? Not likely (5, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052862)

Here's a solution to the problem with the FBI. Prosecute each violation vigorously and to the fullest extent of the law.

You are asking the government to prosecute itself. Without a person at the top with a highly developed sense of morality it isn't likely to happen within the same branch of government. Even with such a person at the top, political reality may make it impossible. That's why we have separation of powers. It will ONLY happen if a different branch of government is the one who decides to press the issue. Expecting the executive branch to spank itself is simply wishful thinking most of the time. If congress or the judiciary can be prodded into action, then something might happen. Otherwise, forget it.

For what it's worth I don't expect much out of Congress either. Very easy to score "soft on crime" political points on someone who criticizes the FBI even if the FBI deserves it.

Re:Of course they did (2)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052758)

Sure, just find me an alternative that's better.

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052792)

the system is broken.

you guys are arguing about which privileged class gets to run the country.

I question the very NOTION of a privileged class running the country. enough of the rich bastards having their way and taking care of their own!

term limits should be ONE. period - no renewals. that removes the 'profit incentive' or rather, the come-back-to-get-more-power incentive. you get one term to make a difference and then you're back to your old job; but with oversight to ensure you didn't make some sweetheart deals for post-office kickbacks. there should be a STRICT no profit restriction on public officials. only get the ones that want to do it 'for the right reasons' and not for the money or power.

arguing about which of the 2 parties - or even if you can get a 3rd - does not change a damned thing. this is a false-choice that is given to you.

fix the system, remove this party 'us and them' concept and let each person speak on their own terms, on issues. isn't what what we REALLY want? parties are bullshit and serve no useful purpose but to deceive. why keep that outdated notion?

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052944)

term limits should be ONE. period - no renewals. that removes the 'profit incentive' or rather, the come-back-to-get-more-power incentive. you get one term to make a difference and then you're back to your old job; but with oversight to ensure you didn't make some sweetheart deals for post-office kickbacks.

Except it won't work. If the official in question knows he won't be in power again, he has no good reason to fix anything; it's not like *he*'ll have to deal with the consequences. On the contrary, he'll have a strong incentive to fill his pockets as much and as quickly as he can, since it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Something similar happened in Eastern Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when Ottoman sultans named merchants of Greek origin [wikipedia.org] as delegate rulers of some of the vassal countries. Those Phanariots got the nomination via massive bribes, and, once the rulership was obtained, their main objective was to recoup the expenses and get rich quick, before somebody else replaced them, That led to massive mismanagement, excessive taxes and general misrule.

Re:Of course they did (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052840)

Sure, just find me an alternative that's better.

It's called actually getting to know the candidate and voting candidate by candidate, rather than by party.

Parties are nothing more than corporations and when you vote for corporations instead of people, you're putting that which is evil (corporate America) in charge of the only entity that can protect us from that evil, our Government.

Re:Of course they did (2)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052874)

No, it's your forefathers that are to blame.

While they got heaps of stuff right, FPP voting breeds two-party systems. It's a classic moral dilemma: People who vote for "the better of two evils" get more power from their vote that people who vote for a third party.

No, you guys need a preferential or proportional system - then you don't have to throw your vote away for the sake of making a point.

Re:Of course they did (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053002)

That's non sequitor, there's nothing wrong with First-past-the-post system. The problem is that the voters reward people for behaving poorly in office. There is no system I've ever heard of where the voters get the decision and where there's protection from voters making poor decisions. In the vast majority of races every election there's at most 3 people running and often times there's only 2 or 1 candidate.

You're not going to solve the problem with a change of voting system as long as corporations are allowed to make donations. Just look at what's happening in other countries with different systems of election.

Re:Of course they did (5, Informative)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053416)

Just look at what's happening in other countries with different systems of election.

Lets see:

  * Australia. Lower house is representative preferential, upper house is technically preferential too, but with a proportional bent (multi-seat voting). While there are two main parties in Australia, neither has a majority in either house. Until recently, there was a viable third party - a role slowly being taken up by the Greens at the moment. Lower house has a significant number of Independents. There are a number of instances of seats being won by candidates who polled quite badly on their primary vote, but were outright preferred over the major parties.

* Holland. Bicameral proportional system, with 10 parties in each of their two houses of parliament. Neither house is controlled by a majority. In fact no *two* parties could even band together to form a majority in either house.

* New Zealand. Unicameral proportional system with direct representation: Single house with 50% representative FPP seats, and 50% "list" seats which are granted to parties in such a way that parliament becomes proportional. Again, currently two main parties, but neither has a majority of seats. Parliament is made up of 8 parties in total.

* Switzerland. Bicameral proportional: 6 parties in each house, with the greatest proportion being 31%.

Compare with:
  * USA: Bicameral FPP with separate executive. Each house is made up of exactly 2 parties. One party, "the winner", holds an absolute majority, while the other party, "the loser" holds virtually no power. The only saving grace is the split terms of the senate, where you might get lucky and have each house independently controlled ("a tie"). In such cases, the two parties are said to "compromise", by filibustering.

Re:Of course they did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35053354)

Corporatism started in the US in 1779... IMO they knew what they were doing

Re:Of course they did (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052788)

And most of those politicians got re-elected by us, that us including you.

Re:Of course they did (5, Insightful)

Lucidus (681639) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052836)

In every decade since I was born (in the early 50's), the FBI has engaged in egregious misconduct, although sometimes we didn't find out about it until years later. I am amazed that they have any credibility left, and puzzled that people continue to act surprised when these things come to light.

Re:Of course they did (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053028)

Keep in mind that it was formed during the great depression to take on Bonny and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, Machine Gun Kelly and John Dillinger. The focus from the get go was on results over process. It's a lot better now than it was under J. Edgar Hoover, but that's not really saying much. The first crop of agents were trained very quickly to shoot first and ask questions later if ever.

Re:Of course they did (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053030)

In every decade since I was born (in the early 50's), the FBI has engaged in egregious misconduct, although sometimes we didn't find out about it until years later. I am amazed that they have any credibility left, and puzzled that people continue to act surprised when these things come to light.

Is everybody in U.S. of A born in the '50?Are there extensive history classes on FBI abuses, perhaps ending with an exam, on the topic?

Re:Of course they did (0)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053316)

No, but since 1950 was 60 years ago, the majority of people have were born since then, and all of them have spent over half their life living in post 1950.

Re:Of course they did (1, Insightful)

dbarclay10 (70443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053154)

Of course they did If you give the government an inch, they take a mile.

Let me fix that for you: If you give anybody (particularly an asshole) an inch, they take a mile. Oh, and cops are generally assholes.

How long? (5, Insightful)

Zeroblitzt (871307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052406)

How long until this is swept under the rug and American Idol is the headline news again?

Re:How long? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052442)

"EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices" (emphasis mine). I'd say this won't even get to headline news in the first place.

Re:How long? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052632)

Joe sixpack: "Just who are these EFFing people anyway?"

Re:How long? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35053198)

Joe sixpack: "Just who are these EFFing people anyway?"

Joe sixpack's buddy: "They are an internet group, you know, like those WikiLeaks people."

Re:How long? (5, Insightful)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052482)

No need. Our congress voted immunity to the telecoms who violated the law and our privacy, so of course they'll do the same for an agency actually <i>part</i> of the government. Using laws to sanction violations of the law is perverse but hey, you gotta protect your own! These FOIAs are from 2008 or so, so the real test is to file now and see if anything has changed since Obama took over the executive.

Re:How long? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052558)

Uh, it never came out from under the rug. You will hear nothing of this on any cable or radio station.

just another event predicted by McNealy's Law (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052424)

"You have zero privacy today. Get over it."

Re:just another event predicted by McNealy's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052540)

I prefer this... "You have zero privacy today. Fight for it."

Re:just another event predicted by McNealy's Law (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052616)

Yeah. But just try walking down the street without pants and see what happens.

You think??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052428)

For the greater good. For your own safety. In the name of truth, justice and the american way. Gotta stop the terrorists. We're the government. If you don't like it, go live with the rest of the unamerican world. If anyone is actually surprised by this, then they're seriously out of the loop.

Those in power will use it.

Re:You think??? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052510)

Forgot the "Think of the children". Used to be not so bad, being in power or not, but last decade government got a blank check (Bush reelection) to do anything, no matter how ridiculous were their claims. After that, why stop?

Correction (5, Insightful)

tomthepom (314977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052462)

...and indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible crimes in the 9 years since 9/11.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Correction (1)

stevenh2 (1853442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052484)

The government won't do anything about it.

Re:Correction (2)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052526)

And your right, the government won't do anything about it.
What bothers me about this is that the government is run by people, and it's these people that won't do anything.

It's as if they get a rise out of doing it OR they are content because it's someone else and not them.

Re:Correction (1, Flamebait)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053252)

I do wish those violations were criminal. During the Bush administration many powers were felt to be within the power of the president under a supposed duty to defend the nation. This polluted reasoning filtered down through the Justice department and people like FBI agents doing all kinds of things were allowed. Since we declined to prosecute the Bush Chaney cabal we somewhat lost any right to go after the lower members of the pecking order. Frankly the entire military chain of command up to and including Bush should have been charged with war crimes. Kangaroo courts and torture and false documents are not part of the American way.

Re:Correction (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053408)

How could they have committed any crimes? They're part of the government, silly!

Morons (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052502)

So they release this at the exact same time one of the largest middle eastern countries is undergoing a revolution? I EXPECT the FBI to be pulling shit like this, and rely on organizations like the EFF to uncover it. But if the EFF is so Tech and New Media savvy, it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information on a slow news day as apposed to releasing it in the middle of the biggest story to hit the media in the past 2 years? there by assuring it will be completely missed by Mondays new cycle?!?! It's just plain incompetent.

Re:Morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052672)

If ain't one thing, it's another. This story just isn't sexy enough.

Re:Morons (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052772)

The idea that a group should "hold on to the information for a better time" is really not in the public's interest. That is a notion stemming in the mindset that the general public has to be controlled. It also makes it easier to rationalize the idea that there is some information the public doesn't need to know about. If you have the news in your hand, you report/divulge it ASAP. If the timing sucks, well, then it sucks. There are always going to be some people more interested in your news, than whatever other crap is going on in the world/nation.

Re:Morons (3, Insightful)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053296)

The idea that a group should "hold on to the information for a better time" is really not in the public's interest

Tell that to the people from Wikileaks. I've been looking forward to the leaks on US banks, but I haven't seen them yet.

If you have the news in your hand, you report/divulge it ASAP. If the timing sucks, well, then it sucks.

Thinking of reporting in "black or white" terms, as you are proposing, fails to take into account the subtleties of human communication. The world has more than 10 options.
(Yeah, I know. I must be new here.)

Re:Morons (2)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052796)

.... it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information on a slow news day as apposed to releasing it in the middle of the biggest story to hit the media in the past 2 years?

I'm fairly certain it will be picked up. Most of the violations were by Special Agent Lindsay Lohan, who posted them from rehab on her Facebook while drunk.

Re:Morons (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053164)

But if the EFF is so Tech and New Media savvy, it didn't occur to them that they might want to release this information...

Who said that EFF is (or need to be) media savvy?

Just what happen to the position "news of problems need to travel the fastest?" What if the first "slow news day" will come only in 1 year from now?

Should everything be subordinated for the "news-tainment consumers" market segment? Should an organisation [eff.org] focused on "protecting your digital rights" be dumbed down to the level of the society instead of attempting to raise the society to its level?

Spies lie? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052514)

Who would have ever guessed that a group of spies would break the law or lie?

Re:Spies lie? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052554)

The FBI isn't supposed to be spies, they're supposed to be detectives. The CIA is for spies.

Re:Spies lie? (2)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053022)

And what do you call the people in the FBI's Counterintelligence Division? What do you think they do? The CIA is not chartered to operate counterintelligence operation in the US, that's the FBI's job.

Re:Spies lie? (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053274)

Special agents of the FBI. Detectives! They are not supposed to be covertly gathering information, they are supposed to stop people covertly gathering information.

That's not to say they aren't doing any domestic spying, just that they're not SUPPOSED to be.

Re:Spies lie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052570)

Since when did the FBI become a spy agency? Last time I checked, they were supposed to be a nationwide police organization, not the domestic equivalent of the CIA.

Re:Spies lie? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052596)

Wrong federal agency. The FBI is (approximately) the federal-level police force - they're completely powerless outside the US borders. The CIA is the agency responsible for espionage and counter-espionage (as well as parts of the State Department and the NSA).

Re:Spies lie? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052726)

Unless they changed things with the PATRIOT act, the FBI is responsible for counterespionage within US jurisdiction.

Not a lot statistically. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052546)

The summary makes it seem like a big number but if the FBI has ~36K people working for it that's just over 1 violation per employee in those 9 years. I'd expect to make at least one mistake in 9 years.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052582)

if the FBI has ~36K people working for it

Does that include the people mopping the floors at HQ?

Re:Not a lot statistically. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052626)

I'd expect to make at least one mistake in 9 years.

Well then you're obviously just a stupid, retarded, mentally-deficient fuck up when compared to the EFF and those who support them because they never ever, ever make any mistakes at all.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052658)

The summary makes it seem like a big number but if the FBI has ~36K people working for it that's just over 1 violation per employee in those 9 years. I'd expect to make at least one mistake in 9 years.

I'm sure they made more than one mistake per individual. We are not talking about simple mistakes here. We are talking about violating people's civil rights and then covering it up. That's a lot different than someone making a typo or something.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052702)

Maybe it's the same. The premise of the movie Brazil is that the user's name get's typo-ed at the beginning, and the anti-terrorist group swooped in on the wrong person's house.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053338)

While Score < 4
mod +1, Informative.
Wend

Re:Not a lot statistically. (2)

DeadlyMind (1865616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053182)

I would expect mistakes to be made as well, but that's a bit short sighted to assume that all of these are actually mistakes, as opposed to intentional abuses of power.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (4, Insightful)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053270)

"Misconduct" is not "a mistake". You might be used to ending up in jail every 9 years or so, but that's not normal.

Re:Not a lot statistically. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35053412)

1 violation of ones civil rights or liberties is too many.

nice to hear... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052556)

It must have been clinton and obama's falt...

wow (1)

buckadude (926560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052568)

that's close to 13 or so violations a day... which is a lot or surprisingly few, depending on how you look at it.

Tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052584)

I'm guessing tomorrow knowing power culture

percentages are important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052652)

It matters if the number of violations is a significant percentage of investigations...
All systems have errors. that has to be expected, it has to be anticipated: whatever you put in place will have errors: thefts, abuses, breakdowns.
It's like the air you breath: it ain't pure. If you want to breathe, there's gonna be some bad stuff in there, always. Has to be.
Perfect cleanliness, being quite next to god, doesn't exist.

Re:percentages are important (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052762)

Abuses like this aren't exactly like speeding (which aside from being quite possible to do without trying or even realizing it, is relatively harmless) - you have to go out of your way to set up wiretaps and perform other actions that violate America's core values. I can accept a small handful of instances where the time required to go through the proper channels (warrants, etc) would have taken too long, but that should be the exception rather than the rule - and some five thousand times per year is hardly an exception. That basically means one of three things - the process is broken, these people are doing things they have no need, right, or reason to do, or federal policy has agreed upon our constitution being worthless. If the latter is the case, fine - bring on the revolution, since we've voided the existence of our government and all of the laws it has created.

Re:percentages are important (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052890)

It matters if the number of violations is a significant percentage of investigations... All systems have errors. that has to be expected, it has to be anticipated: whatever you put in place will have errors: thefts, abuses, breakdowns. It's like the air you breath: it ain't pure. If you want to breathe, there's gonna be some bad stuff in there, always. Has to be. Perfect cleanliness, being quite next to god, doesn't exist.

It doesn't take much (even when speaking percentage) for something to stink.
It takes only 0.00047 ppm of H2S for 50% of humans to detect a "rotten eggs"-like smell, it takes 100–150 ppm for the optical nerve be paralyzed, it takes 800 ppm for 50% of the humans be dead in 5 mins (should I go ahead an explore hydrogen cyanide?).

In the matter of democracy and freedoms, even a small percentage of "mistakes" (even if when not outright abuses) can be deadly or seriously crippling for the society.

2009-2010 are probably just as bad (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052660)

They filed their case in early 2009 for documents through 2008. I'd be extremely surprised if anything has changed in 2009 or 2010 (or now in 2011.) Government agencies are not in the habit of giving up powers just because an administration changed. Once you get below the appointee level, its the same folks doing the job regardless of who's running things.

WTF (3, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052662)

The FBI has abused its power since its inception. COILTELPRO ring a bell? The FBI has been used to investigate the political enemies of powerful politicians since before most of us were even born. Why should it come as a surprise to anyone to find out that they're still doing it?

LK

Re:WTF (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052914)

And your point is? Here's the list of extremes, but feel free to explain your position:
1. the FBI must be dismantled as an active organisation
2. the FBI is good and dandy... get over it, there's no right to privacy for anyone.

USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052678)

talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

Average (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052684)

That works out to more than 12 per day. I wonder what 2009-now looks like.

This is as good of a place as any to stick this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052714)

So unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve all heard about the whole controversy with Wikileaks. You’ve probably also seen all of the news reports about the group known as Anonymous[1] who have been attacking web sites operated by corporations that have done whatever they can to make Wikileaks life difficult. You probably also know that it’s against U.S. Federal law to attack a web site and disrupt its operation, or to assist others in doing so.

But did you know that there’s another group of individuals that have launched the same kind of attack against Wikileaks? Did you know that this same group has launched similar attacks against sites that they (and corporate American interests) think are bad for you? Sites such as The Pirate Bay?

I read a news article today where the FBI served 40 search warrants in its investigation into Anonymous[2]. This is in addition to the FBI raiding an ISP in Texas last week to steal a computer used as a chat server to coordinate the denial of service attacks[3]. What I haven’t read, however, is anything where the FBI has served search warrants or raided anybody with regards to the attacks against Wikileaks and the other sites, in spite of it being the EXACT SAME CRIME. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there’s something sinister going on here. The FBI is only selectively enforcing the law. The law that is supposed to protect me and you is only being used to try to cover the government’s ass and protect corporations.

Arson is illegal. It’s just as illegal for me to go set fire to a known drug dealer’s house as what it would be for me to go set fire to my boss’ house.

Furthermore, the FBI is devoting limited resources to investigating something that is relatively benign and is being perpetrated mostly by teenagers. They could take these same resources and go after some real criminals, but of course that would be too hard, and most Federal agents really don’t know how to do their jobs that well, so they cherry pick.

IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO STOP.

If you haven’t already figured it out. The White House, Capitol Hill, the FBI, CIA, IRS, DHS, TSA, and every other governmental agency out there is too busy trying to cover its ass, fight two pointless wars, and protecting megacorporations to give a rat’s ass about me and you.

IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO STOP.

Even if you disagree with what Julian Assange and Wikileaks has done, even if you think that internet piracy is a really bad thing, surely you can see what is going on here and how this is not a good thing.

IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO STOP.

Our government does not give a shit about us. It’s time to take to the streets and let people know what is going on with this country before it’s too late. THIS MEANS YOU.

I’m sure the FBI is going to be showing up at my door now because of this post. But I don’t care. I’m not advocating violence. I’m not telling people to park Ryder trucks filled with explosives in front of Federal buildings. I’m not telling people to hijack airplanes and crash them into skyscrapers. But what I am telling you is that it is time that we sent our government a clear message that they can not ignore that we are sick of this shit and we are not going to tolerate it anymore.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the America that we learned about in elementary school? The land of the free, home of the brave, et cetera? I have never known that America. Let’s make it happen.

Also, if you read this and you think to yourself “I don’t see what the big deal is” then most likely you’re part of the problem.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_%28group%29
[2] http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9206838/FBI_executes_40_search_warrants_in_quest_for_Anonymous_
[3] http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/internet/affidavit-details-fbi-operation-payback-probe

Re:This is as good of a place as any to stick this (-1, Offtopic)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052814)

Cry some more, you're not getting any sympathy from me. You made your bed, now sleep in it.

Re:This is as good of a place as any to stick this (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052978)

I get where you are coming from but regardless of how you feel about the wars, we stopped fighting a war in Iraq years ago when the people of Iraq decided which side they were on. You only discredit your own argument with the whole "two pointless wars" line; We are only fighting one war. If you are going to go to the effort of writing something like this keep it accurate so the rest of your statements can be taken more at face value.

Re:This is as good of a place as any to stick this (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053014)

There was a slashdot story like a month ago about how the authorities DID arrest a DDoSer of Wikileaks, though. Wikileaks DDoS Attacker Arrested; Equipment Seized

Typo fixed (2)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053024)

Wow, I screwed that up. The link is here [slashdot.org] .

Colombia (2)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35052720)

In Colombia we're going through a similar situation [aljazeera.net] . Now I don't feel so alone *sigh*

Actually, it is a lot less (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052724)

They have identified 800 violations and there were 7000 potential violations that were internally investigated by the FBI. But, in some kind of new math that I don't really understand, the report assumes that there were a bunch more that were not reported and that this number comes out to 40,000.

Re:Actually, it is a lot less (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35052858)

So because you don't understand math they are wrong? Seems like that's more your problems than theirs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

Re:Actually, it is a lot less (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053388)

That "new math" you don't understand is the simple arithmetic and multiplication the rest of us learned before they let us *into* high school.

Summary for you, the idiot:

1. The data the EFF isn't everything and doesn't claim to be everything, however 33% of the potential violations in that data are NSL violations.
2. Back in 2008, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine told the House Judiciary subcommittee that a 10% review of FBI field office NSLs found 640 potential NSL violations from 2003 to 2006.
3. Oh look primary school math: (640 * 10) / 4 * 8 * 3 = 38,400. Or in words, if 10% were 640 then there were 6400 potential NSL violations over 4 years, so 1600 per year. So over the 8 years the EFF data is for 12800. Those type are 33% in the EFF data so multiply by 3 for 38400.

And yes that's extrapolating an extrapolation. But that make that very clear in their report.

but were they right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35053132)

Sure, they may have violated certain things but were they right on the money at catching the criminals? Everyone is fixated that the government shouldn't be allowed to know certain things or do certain t hings without a warrant but yet they post all their private info on facebook and twitter. I'm not saying I'm for the government knowing all and doing whatever they please, if anything I think the federal government should shrink about 10-15 years but it seems that many forget what kind of people the feds are after. IMO I would rather see the FBI violate some people's freedom than the police but that's just my opinion. If all of those 7000 criminals were somehow murders, rapists, child molesters etc etc... then by all means, I don't care if they don't get a warrant or whatever, get those peeps off the streets ASAP but if there were people who were wrongfully accused because of lack of evidence and stuff... *shakes fist* COMIC SAAAANNNS!!!!! -- span style and font tags don't work? :(

COINTELPRO never ended (5, Informative)

alleycat0 (232486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053134)

Although the Church Committee ostensibly ended COINTELPRO in 1971, revelations such as these that surface every few years make it clear that such tactics have *never* been abandoned by the FBI.

I blame TV shows like 24, MI-5, and Law & Orde (5, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053136)

You know the shows I'm talking about: the ones that show spooks and law enforcers breaking their own ethical rules (and everyone else's) in the obsessive pursuit of goals and people who have been quietly pre-convicted outside of any court or due process. They just KNOW the person is guilty... they just have to concoct some a-moral scheme to PROVE it!

These shows plant the seed that such behavior is acceptable. It can't help but have repercussions in the real world, humans being as impressionable as they are. It's "the end justifies the means" yet again. Judicial impartiality? What's that?

Who's watching the watchers? (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053172)

I think they're asleep.

Them again? (1, Funny)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053320)

Oh my God - who was president during 2001 - 2008? Oh, that guy, the guy that oversaw illegal wiretaps and domestic spying and lying to the nation about reasons for going to war and politicized the justice department and the US Attorneys and the civil rights commission and even the interior department and self-justified torture on captives and outed one of our own agents for political revenge and who refused to consider the need to address climate change and that lowered taxes on the wealthy even more and who had the talent to sound like a complete and unforgivable idiot within 5 seconds of opening his mouth at any time - that guy?

Re:Them again? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053420)

Shame the new guy decided to "look to the future, not the past" and didn't want to even have a commission to look at any wrongdoings. If you are politically connected you can get away with almost anything, both of the main parties are just as bad. Murder (Kennedy and the dead hooker), shooting a guy in the face and not reporting it for a day (Cheney), and all the other things that are so obviously wrong that late night talk shows use them as punchlines.

I'd like to see actual punishment for crimes, and not just the top dogs. Anyone who didn't do their job while working for the gov should at least be named so those idiots don't keep screwing up. Whoever was in charge overseeing Madoff at the SEC should be canned and publicly named, same with inspectors for the BP oil spill, etc. Instead we, at best, get some long winded hearing, people quietly quit, and it's back to the same payola.

Wrong argument (5, Insightful)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#35053322)

I cringe whenever I see an argument by the ACLU, EFF, etc that something has "compromised the civil liberties of American citizens", because they're making the wrong argument by casting it the opposite way it should be cast.

When you make a claim like that, the response is always going to be "was any harm done?" and the answer to that is usually "no, no harm was actually done" and then the response to that becomes "stop being a sissy, no harm no foul. unless you're up to something illegal, you've got nothing to worry about."

What the EFF should be claiming is that "government employees abuse the limits of their power". You have to focus the argument on the action, not the reaction. The way the Constitution is written, it doesn't guarantee the civil liberties of Americans. Instead, it limits the scope of authority of the federal government.
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