When the media and members of Congress say the NSA spies on Americans, what they really mean is that the FBI helps the NSA do it, providing a technical and legal infrastructure that permits the NSA, which by law collects foreign intelligence, to operate on U.S. soil. It’s the FBI, a domestic U.S. law enforcement agency, that collects digital information from at least nine American technology companies as part of the NSA’s Prism system. It was the FBI that petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to order Verizon Business Network Services, one of the United States’ biggest telecom carriers for corporations, to hand over the call records of millions of its customers to the NSA.
But the FBI is no mere errand boy for the United States’ biggest intelligence agency. It carries out its own signals intelligence operations and is trying to collect huge amounts of email and Internet data from U.S. companies — an operation that the NSA once conducted, was reprimanded for, and says it abandoned.
Essentially doing the work the NSA can’t do and working together to ultimately put together the massive surveillance programs we’ve learned about over the last few months.
There’s also this: The United States government says Americans have no right to challenge the NSA (er, FBI) surveillance. As a huge fighter for freedoms myself, this is all outrageous.
15:29 // 2 weeks ago
Ryan Shapiro’s technique is so effective at unburying sensitive documents, the feds are asking the courts to stop him.
He currently has 600 records open and now is working for another 350,000, in using the Freedom of Information Act rights. The FBI is working to foil his efforts, saying it threatens national security.
14:00 // 3 weeks ago
The FBI has admitted it sometimes uses aerial surveillance drones over US soil, and suggested further political debate and legislation to govern their domestic use may be necessary.
Speaking in a hearing mainly about telephone data collection, the bureau’s director, Robert Mueller, said it used drones to aid its investigations in a “very, very minimal way, very seldom”.
However, the potential for growing drone use either in the US, or involving US citizens abroad, is an increasingly charged issue in Congress, and the FBI acknowleged there may need to be legal restrictions placed on their use to protect privacy.
Looks like the privacy debate probably isn’t going away anytime in the near future, particularly when agencies like the FBI are admitting to the use of drone technology in domestic situations before they’ve even finalized their privacy guidelines for said programs.
14:57 // 5 months ago
The FBI has released its full 207-page report on the deceased “Brother Leader” of Libya. (h/t Gawker)
18:31 // 7 months ago