Sunday, November 06, 2005

The FBI's shadow "national security letters." FBI: Investigating Citizens National Security Letters 

There was alarming article in The Washington Post last week: "The FBI's Secret Scrutiny." It's a lengthy story of the unchecked growth and use of so-called "National Security Letters" to secretly investigate ordinary citizens not suspected of having done anything.


The W.Post article examines National Security Letters in depth:
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.

The piece starts out crazy and gets crazier right up until the end.

What the FBI is doing seems to surpass its most questionable practices used under J. Edgar Hoover.

With over than 30,000 national security letters being issued each year -- it's safe to ask (though it doesn't make me fell safe at all): Has the FBI issued a national security letter on you?


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