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FBI Hid Patriot Act Abuses

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the nothing-to-see-here dept.

Privacy 243

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Wired is reporting that the FBI hid Patriot Act abuses with retroactive and flawed subpoenas, and used them to illegally acquire phone and credit card records. There were at least 11 retroactive, 'blanket' subpoenas that were signed by top counter-terrorism officials, some of which sought information the FBI is not allowed to have. The FBI's Communication Analysis Unit also had secret contracts with AT&T, Verizon and MCI, and abused National Security Letters by issuing subpoenas based on fake emergencies."

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243 comments

And? (5, Insightful)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749632)

How many people will lose their jobs/careers/freedom for these transgressions?

None.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749656)

That would require them admitting they did wrong. It's much easier to claim national security is at risk.

Re:And? (4, Interesting)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749834)

That would require them admitting they did wrong. It's much easier to claim national security is at risk.
Feels a sneeze coming on.... ahh... ahh... McCarthy!

Whew. Much better.

But really. It's all for the greater good.

Re:And? (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749986)

But really. It's all for the greater good.

Yarp.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750286)

I have a friend that said something to the effect of it's vaguely like home. He said it with sadness. He emigrated from Russia (proper) after the wall fell. Some of the other folks I know from the Ukraine have said similar things. They all agree that politically it is not as bad as it was there, but we are marching slowly and relentlessly that direction.
-nB

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750294)

I think you meant McCain (although Clinton and Obama would fit as well.)

Re:And? (3, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749660)

But surely these actions at least put some terrists out of work?!

/facepalm

Re:And? (2, Funny)

bsane (148894) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749672)

No so far they're still working for the FBI/Homeland/CIA... we'll see if the congressional investigation does anything though.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750000)

The part that bothers me about the PATRIOT Act is that our forefathers would be considered terrorists.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750062)

The part that bothers me about the PATRIOT Act is that our forefathers would be considered terrorists.
They were terrorists, and damn proud of it too.

What bothers me about your comment is you would consider our founding fathers terrorism to be shameful.

Re:And? (1)

mrogers (85392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750168)

They were seditionists but I wouldn't call them terrorists - they started a militia war against an occupying army but AFAIK they didn't target civilians.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750268)

They were seditionists but I wouldn't call them terrorists - they started a militia war against an occupying army but AFAIK they didn't target civilians.

Not directly perhaps, but they frequently did not wear uniforms and hid among civilians, putting them at risk. At the very least, that made them "unlawful combatants" by modern terminology. Also, the boatload of tea dumped into Boston harbour was hardly a military target.

Re:And? (3, Insightful)

tha_mink (518151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750318)

Also, the boatload of tea dumped into Boston harbour was hardly a military target.
I wouldn't call that an act of war or terrorism either though. More like plain ole civil disobedience.

Re:And? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750196)

Not even. I was simply pointing out that they would have been stripped of rights and sent to a government prison to never be heard from again. No questions, no news... nothing. (Not that they had rights, but I firmly believe that they could never pull off what they did in today's world.)

Re:And? (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750274)

Had they lost the Revolutionary War, their fate (in the hands of the British) would have been much different, I'm sure.

Re:And? (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750332)

Oh, I'm sure it would have been. But let's (just for a moment) assume that the British government then, is like the current US government. They would have sent an "elite" force of troops to strategically capture Adams, Jefferson, Washington, et al. and have them disappear overnight. Anyone that spoke up against such crimes would also be silenced. The "New World Order" US government has become the tyrannical king.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750030)

Lol, sure, and they sent Santa to arrest them. (49000) NSL issued (with an unreleased number of names) can't be anything else than abuse. I doubt 0.1% percent were issued in connection with any kind of terrorist activity.
And saying that there probably was some good in that is like saying the twin towers fell but surely took away some people who deserved it.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750282)

Pah! They missed Fergie!

What a waste!!!

Re:And? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749690)

From the FBI - none. From the investigated - lots.

Other quesions? If not, move along, Lavrenij Pavlovich does not like people looking into his practices.

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749774)

How many people will lose their jobs/careers/freedom for these transgressions?

None.

Funny you should say this. I'm getting ready to write a piece on how it seems more and more, incompetency and failure are rewarded while honesty and hard work are denigrated.

Using this administration is much too easy. Look at all the generals who have been honest about their assessments of how poorly run the occupation of Iraq has been, the mismanagement and theft of billions of dollars, the lack of equipment for troops and a whole host of other issues irrespective of the lies that were used to justify the occupation. Where are those generals now? Forced into retirement.

How about Katrina? "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie." Brownie completely fails at his job and gets rewarded by being a consultant to examine why he failed doing his previous job.

Outside the administration, look at Countrywide Financial or Citigroup. Countrywide's CEO uses insider information to sell his stock before the subprime mess hits and makes millions. Investors are left holding the bag, wondering if the company is going to go bankrupt.

Citigroup's former CEO, Charlie Prince, got multi-million bonuses for running the company into the ground, wiping out years worth of profits and having to have the company rescued by foreign governments lest it collapsed.

HP, Enron, and a whole host of other companies follow the same pattern. Reward the incompetent failures with buckets of money and act as if they're doing people a favor, all the while, the folks who do the real work, the grunts on the front line, get the shaft. Every time.

Naw, I'm not bitter. What would make you think that?

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749988)

It's called compensation based on accountability.
Reward is not strictly based on success, but on being accountable - even if you make a mistake.
Nobody is perfect and organizations are willing to compensate folks who are willing to stick their necks out.

Now get back to coding what we told you to code.
Monkey.

Re:And? (1)

slawo (1210850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750320)

Where can I apply? I would love to work stress less, knowing that when I screw up I'll get rewarded for taking the risk!

Re:And? (4, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750156)

Naw, I'm not bitter

And people wonder why geezers like me are cynical. There was a book several decades ago called The Peter Principle [wikipedia.org] . The premise was "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." It explains why things are so messed up.

The last Governor [wikipedia.org] here in Illinois is in a Federal prison for bribery and other misconduct, another example of what you illustrate well in your comment.

Re:And? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750278)

...all the while, the folks who do the real work, the grunts on the front line, get the shaft. Every time.


It seems to me that someone [wikipedia.org] has talked about this earlier =)

Oh, I forgot. Some dictators said he was smart, so he must be eeeevil.

Re:And? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750302)

"Using this administration is much too easy. Look at all the generals who have been honest about their assessments of how poorly run the occupation of Iraq has been, the mismanagement and theft of billions of dollars, the lack of equipment for troops and a whole host of other issues irrespective of the lies that were used to justify the occupation. Where are those generals now? Forced into retirement.

How about Katrina? "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie." Brownie completely fails at his job and gets rewarded by being a consultant to examine why he failed doing his previous job.

Outside the administration, look at Countrywide Financial or Citigroup. Countrywide's CEO uses insider information to sell his stock before the subprime mess hits and makes millions. Investors are left holding the bag, wondering if the company is going to go bankrupt.

Citigroup's former CEO, Charlie Prince, got multi-million bonuses for running the company into the ground, wiping out years worth of profits and having to have the company rescued by foreign governments lest it collapsed.

HP, Enron, and a whole host of other companies follow the same pattern. Reward the incompetent failures with buckets of money and act as if they're doing people a favor, all the while, the folks who do the real work, the grunts on the front line, get the shaft. Every time."
- by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday March 14, @08:41AM (#22749774)
I agree, 110%... & trust me, so does everyone else!

This nation's got the "worst of the worst" in place & @ ALL levels, not just government, but in the workplace!

E.G.-> Who the hell needs 100 "VP's" in place with 6-8 figure salaries? They don't do that much work anyhow, & anybody that's been in "Korporate Amerika" nowadays + the past decade now has seen it & knows what I mean... They do 1/2 the work, & NOT of a production nature, & get paid 3x-5x what workers who actually DO productive work get shit!

Hey - stockholders are being ROBBED by their "boards of directors" imo on that note as well!

E.G.-> Why on erarth do politicians get their pensions, which is their entire pay for the rest of their lives MIND YOU, when they get out of office for?

QUESTION - Did the folks @ enron?? NO! Did the people who GM & Ford burned on health care & pensions get theirs??? NO!!

Man - Like you said:

"WTF!"

WE ALL FEEL THAT WAY!

Signed.

Disgusted U.S. taxpayer

Re:And? (1)

slawo (1210850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750418)

Where are those generals now? Forced into retirement.
Could you link to some sources? This is an interesting statement.

Brownie completely fails at his job and gets rewarded by being a consultant to examine why he failed doing his previous job.
Well at least he is given the opportunity to learn from his mistakes... or to cover up how much of an [incompetent/corrupted bastard] he might be.

Reward the incompetent failures with buckets of money and act as if they're doing people a favor, all the while, the folks who do the real work, the grunts on the front line, get the shaft. Every time.
Awwww... Is the USA a company? It's run like one of a kind you describe. Well It's run by people involved in the Petroleum, weapons and other private industries so no doubt it is.

Re:And? (1)

pawn63295 (964760) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750094)

whats the point of even posting information like this when nothing changes for the better.
im sick to my stomach in disgust to see that... i cant even find the words anymore to describe this frustration.

Re:And? (2, Informative)

JasonTik (872158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750180)

Undoing accidental Moderation. Sorry for the random post. This moderation system NEEDS a confirm button, not a javascripted, auto-committing box.

Well (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749646)

Well, I guess we no longer need to argue back and forth over the "slippery slope" of giving the government access to stuff it shouldn't have access to.

The case is closed - the government will abuse any power it has access to.

As Bruce Schneider says, what we do not need is security at the expense of liberty and privacy - we need liberty, security, *and* privacy.

Re:Well (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749788)

Power itself is the abuse. I can't understand how people are so easily convinced otherwise. Forget what you've been taught, and listen to human nature. How is it possible that a special "right" to employ physical force against peaceful human beings -- the defining prerequisite of all government -- is NOT abuse?

Think about it. You're not a bad person, are you? You don't employ theft, fraud, or physical force against others, do you? Then why on earth would a third party (government) need that special right to employ coercion against you, if you pose no threat to them?

There's a reason why they need that special right, and it's not because you're a blind follower, willing to blindly obey their commands.

It's because you are not.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749840)

As Bruce Schneider says, what we do not need is security at the expense of liberty and privacy - we need liberty, security, *and* privacy.
Hey, what we also do not need is bulky wallets at the expense of liberty and privacy; driver's license, SSN, credit cards, voter ID, Insurance cards. But we have those. "Papers, please". You see, freedom is a lot like a car, err, I mean the Grand Canyon; unless you've been there since the first drop, you would have missed the slow erosion. And who's Schneider? That name doesn't roll of the tongue like one of them 18th century wigged fellers who actually fought for all 3. Academic words are unfurnished; much like Cliff Notes to Hamlet. Does anyone actually have an alternative viable solution to today's terrorism? Or is simple conjecture and fist shaking what we call it these days...

Re:Well (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749940)

I was just thinking the same thing when I came across your comment. Remember when we said it's just a "slippery slope?"

Welcome to the bottom of that slope. Enjoy!

Re:Well (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750040)

Even the people who sneered at the "slippery slope" knew this. But the last 6 years have taught them that they can shout down or bury in derision anyone who speaks that truth. This too can be covered in secret meetings and retroactively declared to have never happened.

And the beat goes on. (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749648)

I don't know why the FBI even bothers to try to hide its wrongdoing...after all, this administration has made it very clear that they are above the law, and that anyone who joins them in their abuses can enjoy a comparable freedom from responsibility.

Re:And the beat goes on. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749662)

Care to explain why you hate America?

Re:And the beat goes on. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749828)

I guess he reads the news...

Re:And the beat goes on. (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750064)

Parent is modded as flamebait. I can't decide if he really was trolling, or if it was meant to be funny.

Re:And the beat goes on. (1)

jaquio1 (1215826) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750372)

I'm pretty sure parent was just trying to be funny. But all the mods got was a big *whoosh*.

Re:And the beat goes on. (2, Interesting)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749946)

MODS! I call you out! Parent post was NOT funny. Oh, it deserves the +5 rating, but in no way was it funny.

Insightful? Sure.

Informative? Maybe.

Funny? Hell no.

/sigh... well, there goes that karma.

Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (4, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749652)

Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist

With one out of three people being a terrorist, I think we should all be gratefull that they are doing whatever it takes to get their jobs done:

http://www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/watchlistcounter.html?=main [aclu.org]

Seriously, I said all along that they didn't care anything about catching terrorist...that it was just smoke and mirrors to monitor us. And low and behold, they will get to monitor us legally, as one out of three of us is a terrorist.

If this doesn't scare the hell out of you, I don't know what will.

Transporter_ii

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749722)

Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist
So what they're essentially saying is that it must be true that out of a typical high school graduating class of 1,000 or, 30 people -- the equivalent of an entire classroom of kids, is a terrorist. (Just using the high school as an example to show scale, don't mean to imply anything about age or whatnot).

Well, fsck. Guess I'll have to quit my job, move to Montana and live out in the middle of the woods where no one can find me...wait? What did you say? The Unabomber. Sh*t. Time to move to Australia. Is there a big demand for sysadmins in Australia?

The number wouldn't be that high (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750150)

With a class of 900 people, it would be 3. The one in 300 number in my subject was correct, but twice I managed to write 1 in 3 in the body. I was trying not to be late for work and just flat out missed my mistake. My bad.

Still, someone figure out how many terrorist were at the Super Bowl.

Transporter_ii

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (5, Interesting)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750238)

Sadly, that sounds about accurate. A co-worker of my wife has a husband who is doing federal time and is labeled as a domestic terrorist. You know what he did? He and a couple friends tried to blow up a port-a-potty in the middle of the night.

Stupid? yep. Irresponsible? Yep. Terrorism? Only if damned near everyone I knew in highschool is a terrorist for doing similarly stupid and destructive crap.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (0, Flamebait)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749844)

Of course that is the case, but I fear that we are too far gone at this point. After all, when the circumstances are that God isn't playing fair, WHO ARE YOU GOING TELL?

If any of you are travelers, you KNOW how bad it has gotten. Going through security, they scan over your license to see if you have been cutting your cocaine with it. They pass you through a device that blows air all over you to "smell" any drugs on you (smoke a joint before going through. YOU WILL GET SEARCHED). Obviously they tell you these procedures are to find bombs and make sure you are who you say you are. They really just want to push their "War on Drugs" agenda on you and take all of the nice little things you have.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749848)

To be fair, that's an international list. There are names such as Saddam Hussein(Former Dictator of Iraq), Evo Morales(President of Bolivia), Yusaf Islam(Former London Pop Singer) and that's just what they show on the website. I won't deny that the list is far to long and needs to be trimmed a lot. There are far too many U.S. Citizens on the list, however it's not 1 in every 300 as you say since it is after all international.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749896)

Somehow I think Saddam Hussein's name is off that list. He doesn't travel much anymore.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749948)

Considering 14 out of 16 9/11 flyers are still on the list, don't be too sure..

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (1)

stjobe (78285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749990)

Somehow I think Saddam Hussein's name is off that list. He doesn't travel much anymore.
That was exactly the point; Saddams name is STILL on the list, even though he's dead.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (2, Funny)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750130)

We can't be sure he's dead. Not until we've found his stockpile of Weapons of Mass Distraction. And his army of clones waiting with them.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (1)

ukgod (547718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750192)

Saddam doesn't get out much any more. I think Yusuf would also be offended to be called a "former" pop singer. He was formally a pop singer called Cat Stevens, then after almost drowning he converted to Islam and took the name Yusuf Islam. He decided that the Koran forbade the playing of music (a contentious area of the Qur'an). Now he's realised the errors of his ways and started making music again. You should listen to some of his stuff, and read up on all the awards he has been given for his philanthropy and promotion of peace! I assume this list contains a different person with a simliar name probably Youssef Islam, check the Wikipedia article for citation.

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750454)

And who helped put Saddam Hussein in power? The CIA you say?

Re:Needed with 1 in 300 being a terrorist (5, Interesting)

molex333 (1230136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749892)

This is my favorite. Marine Staff Sgt. Daniel Brown was blocked from flying while on his way home from an 8-month deployment in Iraq. He was listed as a suspected terrorist due to a previous incident in which gunpowder was detected on his boots, most likely a residue of a previous tour in Iraq. I was actually held for 2 hours once because one of the people in airport security because I smelt like gasoline. I was returning home from a business trip and I had to fill up a rental car with gas. There was some gasoline residue on my shoes. Do I really need to be searched and treated like a criminal for filling up a car with gas?

telco immunity vindicated? (-1, Troll)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749658)

This is why i felt the telcos deserve some immunity - they were illegally requested to do things in a way that may have appeared valid to their legal counsel.

when the corruption comes from the top down, it's hard to determine what's right/legal and what isn't. maybe not in retrospect, but certainly in real time.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (4, Informative)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749702)

This revelation doesn't exonerate anyone.


There's a big difference between being asked for communications to or from an internet account or phone and being given unfettered access to all provider traffic.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (4, Insightful)

Shaltenn (1031884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749824)

"they were illegally requested to do things in a way that may have appeared valid to their legal council"
 
  If their legal council couldn't bother to verify what was going on before bending over and accepting this, then there's a whole other issue that needs to be dealt with. But that's besides the point. They (the telcos) did something heinously wrong, and now they deserve to be punished.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (2, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750024)

I would take this a step further. If their legal council bent over and accepted this, they should be examined by the Bar Association for incompetancy.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749906)

This is why i felt the telcos deserve some immunity - they were illegally requested to do things in a way that may have appeared valid to their legal counsel.
If so, they didn't break the law and their prosecution at trial will fail. So why do they need blanket immunity?

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750442)

If so, they didn't break the law and their prosecution at trial will fail. So why do they need blanket immunity?

The argument goes something like this:
  • Deep in their hearts, the morons at the top believed what they were doing was right, and just, and God was on their side
  • Using secret and scary tactics which the public isn't legally allowed to know the details of, they requested information
  • Under the secret and scary tactics, non-compliance means you support terrorism and can get jailed
  • Therefore, those who complied were acting both legally and justly because, after all, God was on our side

The claim is that if companies had the right/obligation to say something to the effect of "Hmmm ... that sounds awfully illegal, can I consult my lawyer" then government could never effectively fight terrorism and keep the price of oil low. Therefore, since they should just roll over and do what they're asked, they should be immune from prosecution after the fact, because the government knew best. If, along the way, the telcos offered even more information that was legal/required, well, they were just anxious to help us in our noble quest.

And, if they tell you what they've been up to, then the terrorists will know what our capabilities are, and we'll never catch them.

It really is an astonishingly scary example of exactly why the erosion of the checks and balances that everyone said would happen, were a bad idea in the first place. The government gave themselves sweeping (and, arguably unconstitutional) powers after 9/11 -- at the time, everyone said it would lead to abuses. It has.

The current strategy of the government is to prevent it from coming under scrutiny, and to ensure those that they recruited to help with this stuff have no consequences -- because if you were allowed to know everything that would happen, you'd be appalled and they'd look like even more like people who ran rough shod over the laws. They don't want everyone to know what they've been doing.

Cheers

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (2, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749952)

"when the corruption comes from the top down, it's hard to determine what's right/legal and what isn't"

No it isn't, that is what laws are for. Break the law and you have done something illegal, it is no more difficult than that. That is why companies have legal departments. Appeared valid to their legal department? ALL of their legal departments? Nonsense.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (2, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750080)

Not to mention that it has been long accepted that ignorance of the law is not a valid defense for violating it.

Re:telco immunity vindicated? (2, Insightful)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749984)

If someone tries to sell you a unregistered hand gun from the trunk of a car in an alley and you buy it, you are just as guilty as the person who sold it to you. Just because you are asked to do something illegal doesn't mean that you are innocent under the law if you do it. The absolute BEST they could hope for is calling it entrapment. But I don't think an entrapment argument would hold up when the ones asking them to break the law weren't trying to get them on a crime, they just wanted help with their own criminal activity.

Happens all the time. (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749664)

Of oourse, it gives those convicted using such information grounds for appeal. The evidence gathered could be thrown out and their convictions overturned.

The FBI should know better.

Re:Happens all the time. (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749826)

The point of all this blanket monitoring is not to secure convictions of suspected terrorists. The old FISA law was completely adequate for that purpose.

The purpose here is to make the American public toe the line, and for that purpose, convictions are not necessary. The mere threat of action, with the associated social embarrassment and financial hardship, will do nicely.

Power. Will. Be. Abused. (4, Insightful)

Britz (170620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749670)

Democracy is just a set of checks and balances to prevent that. We wouldn't need to elect leaders and stuff if it wouldn't be for that. We actually don't need so many new laws in our day-to-day lives. All we would need is a good lawbook to start from and police to enforce it. But since power will always be abused we need that complicated thing called democracy to be able to get rid of people that abuse too much.

By removing checks and balances (which is currently done in almost all democracies all over the world for no reason) we see an upsurge of abuse.

So nothing to see here, please move along.

News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749698)

...news at 11.

This is why we have the second amendment (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749712)

So - all you guys with guns, who maintain that they can protect us from a corrupt government. Where are you? We need some protecting from a corrupt government.

Re:This is why we have the second amendment (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749740)

So - all you guys with guns, who maintain that they can protect us from a corrupt government. Where are you? We need some protecting from a corrupt government.
I think you're looking for this guy [catb.org] .

FBI Hid Patriot Act Abuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749718)

What is the fuss? Historically, governments of any country with an ambitious military do whatever is necessary by law or other means to reach their objective. The fact that we don't have daily photographs of the front in Afghanistan or Iraq from any country other than handshake photo opportunities with leaders that are involved says it all.

With great power comes great responsibility (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749744)

No one is seriously in favor of wiping out all security and simply letting crime happen as it wills. There is a reason we need the FBI, military, and local and state police departments. We all agree that crime prevention and the provision of justice is one service that government must provide. Otherwise we would live in anarchy, and even though the thought of vigilante justice is attractive to some, we for the most part believe that their must be a social framework upon which we want to build our culture. This necessitates a government and the responsibilities both of and to it.

To that end, the expansion of police powers at the top levels of the government is not necessarily a bad thing. When we look at 9/11 and the failure of communication between various law enforcement agencies, it is clear that we cannot have a law enforcement system where one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing. The Patriot Act, for all its faults, is trying to address this need by opening up and sharing the law enforcement databases so that vital information is not overlooked or ignored simply because it is not available. The implementation has left a lot to be desired, though.

When we start to expand federal powers, such as like and under the Patriot Act, great care must be taken to provide oversight capable of taking the power wielder to task. Normally, you'd expect this to be Congress. But much more fundamentally, you would expect the President (the Chief Executive) to show some restraint and good sense in the execution of the expanded powers. What we have unfortunately seen is that the President has not seen fit to restrain the DHS and has not forced common sense and common decency as policy. Rather, the departments have run wild creating new and more intrusive rights for themselves at the expense of American freedoms.

We say we are the beacon of the world, but we have not lived up to that moniker here at home, and we have destroyed our good name abroad. We must start our transformation immediately back into that beacon, and we must start at home.

Why am I _not_ surprised about this news ? (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749764)

There's nothing to see here, move along. Just business as usual.

say it ain't so! (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749780)

That government officials would abuse their positions, lie, cheat, and steal.

What bugs me more is that people cry foul over this but turn around and what these goons to run their medical needs as if that won't be an invasion of privacy and rights in itself.

When are people going to learn, letting the government do things you can do is wrong, letting them do the rest unsupervised is wrong, and expecting them to do it right in either case without public oversight is just stupidity.

The problem the FBI faces is very similar to what we read recently about the TSA. What one person thinks is legal probably isn't but subordinates don't know better either or don't have any means of contesting it without losing their own careers.

shocking news!!! (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749800)

i mean, abusing something, and then HIDING it????
are they serious? not like every other abuse, in plain sight for everyone to see and know?

seriously... what's the news value here? you know that such things will be abused, and those that do the abuse will ofcourse hide it -_-. will we next get an article about terrorists hiding their identity?

Allow only NSA to have this capability (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749846)

Prior to the Patriot act, only the NSA was tapping our phones without a proper warrent. Now, we have the NSA, DOD, AND the DOJ hitting it. The ppl at the NSA have no real power to arrest ppl. More importantly, prior to W. they never shared their data with others EXCEPT when there is a reason. That means that they did not use their knowledge to affect regular citizens.

OTH, the DOJ has ALWAYS abused their powers. ALWAYS. WHy? We have combined the ability to arrest, with the mentality to be a guarddog, the ethics of a Republican, and now with the ability to listen in on all. No wonder that they will lie, cheat and steal to achieve their goals. This is a group that now believes the ends justify the means. Very bad set-up. That is why DOJ must not have these spying abilities.

Finally, the DOD is now looking through our lines. The problem is not that they are likely to use it against a citizen, but that they will use the knowledge to affect their future. IOW, they can now listen in on conversations between gov. ppl. This is part of the industrial-military complex that also needs to be stopped.

Re:Allow only NSA to have this capability (2, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750200)

Why do you propose letting the NSA have the ability to tap our phones without oversight? If the FBI can abuse it, so can the NSA, and NSA can certainly pass on information to organizations with the power to arrest or harass.

Whats the point anymore (5, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749860)

Seriously, Clinton gets a bj in office and gets impeached. Bush recklessly gets us into a war for no factual reason, destroys the economy, slashes and burns the constitution and nothing happens. The FBI abuses the patriot act, the NSA initiates a domestic spying program, and nothing happens. WTF America? Don't any of you have any pride or perspective anymore?

Re:Whats the point anymore (5, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750020)

The reason this happens can be easily explained with a short excerpt of a good book by a man named Douglas Adams:

"I come in peace", it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this...

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No", said Ford, ... "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd", said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did", said Ford. "It is."

"So", said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them", said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes", said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But", said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard", said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in."

Re:Whats the point anymore (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750090)

"... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses."
Juvenal, Satire X, on Roman apathy towards politics.

Re:Whats the point anymore (1)

Beefaroni (1229886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750052)

Seriously, Clinton gets a bj in office and gets impeached
ya and some of us were jealous that he beat us to it =p

Re:Whats the point anymore (0, Troll)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750124)

What angers you the most is that there doesn't seem to be much we can do about this... *sigh* Sure, elect new officials, that'll work. But what about bringing the real threat to our country to justice? I'm not proud to be an american under these circumstances- surely there's something more we can do that write a letter to our rep that will undoubtedly be thrown out, and vote in an election that has clearly been rigged for the past two elections.

How else do you say, we've already lost control, and apathy + a small sense that we might have control has kept us from doing anything about it. When it comes around to it, you realize voting will fix nothing, and writing that letter to your rep won't undo the bribes he's already taken.

Re:Whats the point anymore (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750174)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. -- Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world." - Declaration of Independence, Library of Congress

Re:Whats the point anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22750218)

I agree...

This nation's got the "worst of the worst" in place & @ ALL levels, not just government, but in the workplace!

E.G.-> Who the hell needs 100 "VP's" in place with 6-8 figure salaries? They don't do that much work anyhow, & anybody that's been in "Korporate Amerika" nowadays + the past decade now has seen it & knows what I mean... They do 1/2 the work, & NOT of a production nature, & get paid 3x what workers who actually DO productive work get shit!

Hey - stockholders are being ROBBED by their "boards of directors" imo on that note as well!

E.G.-> Why on erarth do politicians get their pensions, which is their entire pay for the rest of their lives MIND YOU, when they get out of office for?

QUESTION - Did the folks @ enron?? NO! Did the people who GM & Ford burned on health care & pensions get theirs??? NO!!

Like you said:

"WTF!"

WE ALL FEEL THAT WAY!

Signed.

Disgusted U.S. taxpayer

Cry me a river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22749872)

The US has, as last I was aware, something in the range of 250 million inhabitants.

It was then found that in 11 cases, subpoenas have been backdated, and some of them have requested information that they were not lawfully entitled to have.

Let us consider some other entities - European nations, that are often upheld by those same critics of the US.

Consider one of these European nations with 10 million inhabitants. If this nation was at a similar level of evil as the US, you would expect one of these backdated subpoenas every 25 years. That would place it as similarly evil to the current state in the US.

From what I know of the police using "unlawful" methods in a few European countries, it is certainly rare, but once every 25 years is a monumental and extreme understatement.

IOW, the US police is far less evil than that in several European countries. There are no consequences of this and no relative benefits to the US.

My personal view is naturally that this difference in treatment is all down to the age-old adage and tendency, find reasons to protect the ones you love and find reasons to attack the ones you hate.

Jump to Conclusion (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749874)

As usual with this sort of story, "I Don't Believe..." guy makes his own conclusions in the poorly formed summary. It is strange how he derived "and used them to illegally acquire..." from the story that clearly uses the carefully constructed "possible" qualifier. There is a huge difference, legally and intellectually, between illegal and possibly illegal activity.

Re:Jump to Conclusion (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749934)

Damned liberals! You must be right - because the term "warrantless wiretapping" sounds SO inline with the Constitution.

FBI Hid Patriot Ac Abuses (0, Troll)

Just 'A Wondrin' (1256318) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749878)

And they abused their power to do what? Catch some bad guys. No, the end doesn't justify the means, but this abuse was discovered and reported. This (the latter) is the price we all pay for living in a "free" society. Got nothin' to hide? Don't worry.

In corporate America, government checks on you. (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22749910)

And I for one welcome our new Bolsjevik American overlords.

Re:In corporate America, government checks on you. (1)

EXMSFT (935404) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750098)

If he's smart, Santa has been outsourcing his "naughty/nice" list generation to the Fed. After all - I think they know WAY more than he does.

Re:In corporate America, government checks on you. (2, Interesting)

mb108 (1228888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750310)

http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B347%5D=x-347-559597 [privacyinternational.org]

I don't see a whole lot of green and blue on this map. Greece is doing pretty good. Granted, it's disappointing that USA ranks right up their with Russia and China, but you can't really expect much privacy anywhere unless you take steps to ensure it yourself (GPG, Tor, Freenet, etc).

IMHO the trend we're seeing is the downside of moving to an information-based society: if information is free for the taking, you betcha they're going to take it. Governments have been spying on citizens since there were governments, regardless of any policy-based protections; getting all wired up just makes things easier.

Re:In corporate America, government checks on you. (1)

psmears (629712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750440)

And I for one welcome our new Bolsjevik American overlords.
Spelling "Bolshevik" like that suggests you're Scandinavian rather than American...

It's OK, though (2, Insightful)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750086)

The Homeland Security people say they've laid a serious hurtin' on the terrorists, they just can't tell us anything about it for obvious reasons. And there have been no more attacks on American soil, which absolutely proves that they're doing everything right because otherwise all those terrorists they keep telling us about would be eating our babies right this very minute.

So it's all OK and we should just quit worrying, because even though they legalized everything short of grabbing people off the street and exporting them to other countries for torture (Oh, wait a minute...) it would all be in our best interest because they're the good guys.

So I guess what I'm saying is: lay off the FBI, because they know best and you guys are just making their job harder by pointing out that they're abusing their powers. And that's just wrong. Better we live on our knees than die on our feet and all that, because if there's another attack then the terrorists have won and the United States will have turned into a police state for nothing.

And wouldn't that suck...

Darn Girl Scout wiretaps! (1)

phrackwulf (589741) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750108)

Their intercept operators pulled up a trace from when my grandmother reminded me I have a "sweet tooth" on the phone and now I can't get them off my doorstep! I've got cases of thin mints in the basement! For the love of God, stop the madness!

FBI HID Patriot Act Abuses (2, Funny)

djtriv (463132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22750226)

I read this too soon after waking up, and I thought the title read: FBI HID Patriot Act Abuses. I couldn't for the life of me understand how the FBI could possibly abuse my mouse.
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