Monday, October 24, 2005

FBI conducting illegal surveillance

As revealed by a Freedom of Information Act request, the FBI has been clandestinely spying on United States citizens and residents without oversight or legal sanction. The Electronic Privacy Information Center received documents indicating that agents of the FBI have seized bank records without authority, examined e-mail on an expired warrant, and conducted a physical search of a person without consent.

The USA Patriot Act, a piece of hastily and poorly conceived legislation enacted in the wake of 9/11, granted broad powers of surveillance to domestic intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The lack of scrutiny and the far reaching scope almost beg to be abused. From 2002 to 2004, the Intelligence Oversight Board recorded at a minimum 287 potential violations of the laws concerning secret surveillance. No one can know the exact number; the records are unfortunately incomplete.

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