FBI: Chronic Abuse of Power Goes Unchecked

Does the FBI break the law? According to a new report, all the time.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Last summer, there was another avalanche of classified documents detailing abuses by government officials, and it wasn't from WikiLeaks.

Compelled by a lawsuit, the government was recently forced to release files detailing abuses by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in investigating cases between 2001 and 2008. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the organization that requested the material under the Freedom of Information Act, the 2,500 heavily redacted files show evidence of chronic abuse at rates far surpassing any previous estimates or documentation.

In a recently released report analyzing the files, the EFF asserts that between 2003 and 2006 there is evidence that as many as 17,000 abuses may have occurred, "or an average of 4,250 serious intelligence violations per year."

From 2001 to 2008, the report states, the FBI "engaged in a number of flagrant legal violations," including "submitting false or inaccurate declarations to courts; using improper evidence to obtain federal grand jury subpoenas; [and] accessing password protected documents without a warrant."

The report divided the violations into various groups, the top three being violations, abuses and misuses of rules governing internal oversight of intelligence investigations; violations of the Bureau's National Security Letter authority (which allows the government to requisition information from private third parties, such as Internet providers and phone companies); and violations of "the Constitution, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or other laws governing criminal investigations or intelligence-gathering activities."

Government protocol requires that when such potential or actual abuses are discovered internally, they must be investigated, and a report documenting the abuses needs to be filed with the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB).

The board was instituted in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, in response to evidence of rampant violations in the FBI's investigations of cases, to advise him on the legality of the government's covert domestic and foreign investigations. The EFF requested IOB documentation of such abuses from between 2001 and 2008—the period when President George W. Bush began limiting the board's oversight and failed to appoint new members.

The EFF made the request in 2008, but when there was no response, they filed suit. The first files arrived last summer.

That the abuses are being documented at all may seem promising, but the report asserts that the mechanisms and people charged with overseeing and addressing these abuses appear to be, at best, ineffectual.

"...[O]n average, 2.5 years elapsed between a violation's occurrence and its eventual reporting to the IOB," the report noted. Further, which abuses are reported is clearly at the FBI's discretion, and in many instances cases were "only reported to the IOB when it determined the agency's ability to supervise the investigation had been 'substantially impaired,'" the report stated, quoting government documents.

The Bureau's willingness to break the law in order to uphold it appears to only be matched by the willingness of some companies to deliver their customers' private info to the feds.

Using a legal battering ram known as a National Security Letter (NSL), the FBI can secretly subpoena records from third parties without any judicial review. According to the EFF's report, the agency issued nearly 200,000 NSL requests between 2003 and 2006. In more than half the NSL violation reports reviewed by the report's authors, "the private entity receiving the NSL either provided more information than requested or turned over information without receiving a valid legal justification from the FBI. Companies were all too willing to comply with the FBI's requests, and—in many cases—the Bureau readily incorporated the over-produced information into its investigatory databases," the report found.

Rampant abuse by intelligence agencies was suspected by many civil liberty advocates during the Bush years; these findings are the first verified glimpse the public has had of the nature and extent of the violations. Perhaps more alarming, though, the report asserts, "there is little evidence that President Obama has taken significant measures to change past FBI practices. Two years into his term, the President has not publicly disclosed any appointments to the IOB, and his campaign promise of unprecedented transparency within the executive branch has gone largely unfulfilled...."

Earlier this week, House Democrats and newly elected Tea Party Representatives were able to block a first attempt by Republican leadership to renew the Patriot Act without revisions. It is likely there will be further attempts, with revisions added to the bill. These findings seriously suggest that our congresspeople might be worrying about the wrong thing. Perhaps the subject of debate should not be how free a hand our intelligence community should have in investigating and prosecuting cases, but what, if any, restriction or oversight is in place.

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The FBI moved into my hometown of Opelousas, Louisiana a few years back like locusts, along with CIA (National Clandestine Services) and US Army Intelligence spooks. In this small town of about 20,000 people, roughly 6,000 moved out, or, more accurately, were removed.

Now there is constant - and unprecedented - low-flying aerial traffic, including at a much higher altitude, chemtrails from jet traffic. The oldest newspaper in the nation, the Daily World, was moved from its town of origin to nearby Lafayette (I believe this was a punitive measure for a recalcitrant local government not wanting to co-operate too closely with these invasive thugs.)

An illegally operating EMS service was quickly up and running to handle the volume of people targeted for ELF attacks and other, more brutish forms of non-lethal, federal violence in what was a campaign of intimidation and forced relocation, the entire nightmare basically resembling some kind of silent counterinsurgency campaign. Two aldermen died mysterious deaths, out-of-state license plates abounded, people would go missing for periods of up to two days while they were indoctrinated into their new reality of a gag-ordered existence. Finally, in-home surveillance was set up in my mother's house (918 South Market Street), my entire family and all of my acquaintances were issued gag orders, and all because I hacked a sophisticated government program (which had been illegally placed in my computer. It was a shadow browser program for spying and altering all incoming outgoing traffic.)

The FBI and the entire national security apparatus are nothing but neo-Nazi thugs doing the work of a rising tyranny in America. Alex Jones and his ilk aren't exaggerating!

Robbie Tevault

Opelousas, Louisiana

Posted by Robert Tevault on 7.24.12 at 13:53
For nearly 16 months now I have watched as what little faith I had in the government of the United States of America literally disintegrated before my eyes. I am now and have been for these past 16 months the victim of a federal and local police investigation. Though I am certain that almost everyone who ever has been investigated claims that they have done nothing wrong it is most definitely the case where I am concerned. I have been publishing and broadcasting my own videos and photographs on the internet of both alien life forms and UFOs that I began focusing on after my first sighting in July of 2010. I am not crazy, not a weirdo I am a pretty normal person of above average intelligence who holds and MBA from a Jesuit University. My publishing activities are the only thing that I can think of that would be causing this to occur, though if (God forbid) they ever do bring charges against me I am certain it will be for somthing that I haven't ever done, complete with planted evidence etc.

I have who I believe to be the captain of the team of thugs living right next door to me, another group of workers living in an apartment directly behind my home and there is a cooperative police / federal sub station in an office complex not a block away. I am intercepted up to five or more times every time I leave the house with undercover agents talking into their hands and at times making themselves quite visible as a form of intimidation. They are also all over my computer with traceroutes proving that all traffic in or out of my PC goes through a special "subpoena" network hop. Rough cost estimates for the expenses associated with monitoring and suveilling me run no less than $225,000 and are probably more in the half million dollar range. All this while the post office claims that they can no longer afford to deliver mail on Saturdays and our people are suffering.

I am sick at heart not only for my own immediate future but for the future of our children and our nation. I once loved this nation and I still love the Constitutional Republic that was the United States, if only it could return. If you pray, please pray for me as I certainly could use the positive energy and blessings. God save us all.

Posted by S.D. De Long on 4.4.13 at 15:06
I have been well aware of being watched both in person and via phone taps and computer surveillance. I have nothing to hide but yet they insist on pursuing my every move for an unknown reason. It is so bad that I have actually heard them over electronic equipment talking now how infectual and ill trained are they. Wasting tax payers money on I presume unauthorized surveillance of people is at best absurd. I believe they are bored and have found a way to waste tax payer money on man power,places to stay, and expenses that are not warranted. I can only imagine the cost spent to date on survellance that is not necessary. Don't get me wrong but sometimes it is needed to determine actual criminal activity but for them to just pick the average citizen and harrass their very existance is wrong. There needs to be accountabilty for these agencies that have become complacent in their duties. It has been proven when one becomes to comfortable in a position of power they tend to abuse it.
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