Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Mistakes were made": The FBI's Unlawful Privacy Abuses

Recent revelations about significant deficiencies in the FBI's bungling of security investigations of U.S. citizens under the Patriot Act suggests that a great deal more is involved than just isolated instances of negligence resulting in occasional invasions of privacy.

On Tuesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted to the FBI's failure to abide by legal requirements laid out under the Patriot Act regarding the use of national security letters (NSLs) and intelligence surveillance warrants.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice released two reports - one on the FBI's use of NSLs, and the other on the FBI's obtainment of business records - severely criticizing the FBI's abuse of the law. The NSL report blasted the FBI for failing to report to Congress on its use of NSLs, as it is required to do under the 2005 Patriot Reauthorization Act. Of the 143,000 NSL requests issued between 2003-2005, thousands of NSLs were never reported to Congress.

Interestingly, when Congress imposed this reporting requirement upon the FBI in 2005, the Bush administration staunchly opposed the requirement, citing instead the need to withhold information from Congress that might "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties." It appears that Congress' efforts to impose oversight over the FBI were in vain. The executive branch never intended to respect the law, but per its usual course of action, has chosen to dilute the law, in letter and in spirit.

In addition to its failure to fulfill its reporting requirements, the FBI also, according to the report:
  • Requested information exceeding the scope of the agency's authority under the Patriot Act.
  • Issued NSLs that were not tied to any ongoing investigation (under the Patriot Act, the NSLs must be "relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities").
  • Issued "exigent letters" to telephone companies, rather than NSLs, that were signed by people not authorized to sign NSLs. In other words, the FBI went around the law. When it could not legally issue NSLs, it issued "exigent letters" instead, thereby failing to follow the processes required for obtaining private information about individuals. This resulted in telephone companies handing over information about individuals to the FBI before the proper NSLs and subpoenaes had been approved.

In testimony before the House last week, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine attributed the administration's abuse of the law to "mistakes, carelessness, confusion, sloppiness, lack of training, lack of adequate guidance and lack of adequate oversight."

But something more than just simple "mistakes" and reporting deficiencies seems to be at work here. What the scope and extent of the abuses suggest is that when legal requirements inconveniently stand in the way of the government's war on terrorism, the current administration chooses not to take the law seriously.

When Bush swore to defend and uphold the Constitution, he could only have meant that he would not let that revered document stand in his way of expanding his powers. Other examples of the administration's irreverence of the law include:

Unfortunately, such blatant disregard for the law permeates the executive branch, seemingly, at all levels. Although FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (who oversees the FBI) have both expressed disappointment at the agency's failures to abide by the law, they have also indicated that they intend to continue using NSLs, despite their fundamental flaws. Mueller admitted that "mistakes were made," but in the same breath called the NSLs the "bread and butter" of the FBI's investigations, labelling them "absolutely essential" in helping the government to obtain information. What makes the NSLs so valuable to the administration is the fact that they can be, and have been, obtained illegally and without adequate privacy protections. Take away the FBI's ability to obtain information in an unlawful manner, and the FBI's surveillance program will be significantly curtailed, much to the chagrin of some members of this administration.

Given the cavalier "anything goes" mentality held by those responsible for combatting terrorism, tinkering with the language of the law to try to prevent further abuses will not be enough. The Bush Administration's response to all of this is not to address the problems inherent in the secret surveillance program, but rather, to continue engaging in injudicious surveillance and finding new ways to sidestep legal requirements. Indeed, the administration's approach has always been to undermine the rule of law to the point of ineffectuality.

How many more times will we be told that we must concede our fundamental liberties in the name of an undefined "war against terrorism", that the law has once again been ignored, that "mistakes were made"?

1 comment:

  1. The Responsibility For The Collapse Of The Constitutional Government Of
    The United States of America

    The present task is to identify agencies and *individuals of the USA government who are responsible for the collapse of the constitutional democracy and the simultaneous formation of the current totalitarian state here. As may be expected the criminals and the terrorists of the two premier homicidal groups (i.e.: the fbi/cia) are also the spearheads of the nation's global intel operations, both overt and covert.** Other intel groups take orders (either directly or indirectly ) from the fbi and the cia.

    Due to the corruption, incompetence and outright felonious mindset of the members of the fbi/cia, all of the other intel arms of the USA government are unable to protect the country from the mounting threats by persons and countries who seek to stop this nation's assault on Humanity. The reason for the national intel failure, therefore , can be directly attributable to the fbi/cia and their foolish congressional and presidential Handlers. As a result of this website and ( I have learned that the following intel groups study my material sometime in an apparent effort to comprehend why the fbi would attempt to frame (or neutralize) one of their own:

    fbi ( this group of thugs ostensibly operates under doj, but in reality the fbi is the boss);
    cia- this group is a nation unto itself, operating completely independently of the US governmnet;;

    homeland security (responsible for many threats and assaults on my person)has an intel office manned by special agents and others who analyze data;
    dea has an intel office for national security matters, but dea is largely controlled by fbi/cia; dea also pretends to function under the authority of doj;

    the dept of defense is top dog in military intel, but they too take orders (or to put it mildly, "requests" from the fbi/cia)-within this dod group are army, air force, navy, marines (their respective intel offices);also under the dod banner are the dia, nsa, nro (national recon office), and the national geospacial intel office (Note that this office has extensively analysed my sites and for this reason I came to learn of their existence as a highly specialized tech office coordinating data both from earth and space);

    The US Department of State has its own office of intel which regularly reviews my material to determine whether I may be a candidate for a federal arrest warrant;The US depts of energy and treasury also each visit my sites in connection with their appraisals of finances, etc., in connection with my material and visits thereto.

    The various intel groups have their own subgroups which also carry out mission oriented objectives globally. For purposes of this report the reader should understand that the United States of America is run by the intel services and that these agencies are so completely corrupt in their operations and influence that no one can touch them.

    *The names of fbi and cia agents, operatives, thugs, assassins, etc., is a work in progress; see my sites, newspaper reports, and perform other inquiries to identify the government rat bastards who look to imprison, torture, kill anyone who stands in their path.

    **[Some of the above material is borrowed from the book, "Intelligence and National Security, A Reference Handbook" by J. Ransom Clark, Praeger Security International, Weatport Connecticut,2007.]
    Note: The Pentagon shows particular interest (see image below) in the above report because the people are supposed to be kept in the dark; I have a message for the Pentagon and the fbi/cia snakes that hang out therein: THIS LAND IS MY LAND.
    Site meter visit by ARMY at PENTAGON [See also subsequent VA threat below, dated 5-30-08]:

    GERAL W. SOSBEE vs. fbi
    Domain Name (Military)
    IP Address 141.116.10.# (Army Information Systems Command-Pentagon)
    ISP Army Information Systems Command-Pentagon
    State : Virginia
    City : Annandale
    Time of Visit May 23 2008 2:56:13 pm
    Referring URL
    Visit Entry Page
    The Washington D.C. (non)Indymedia deletes the above article and attacks with the following statement by a fbi/cia foolish stooge (underling):
    "The requested content was deleted with notes: Other = Excessive Weirdness. Really weird, rambling, paranoid rant. The FBI/CIA have an office dedicated to specifically monitor HIS output? Crank."
    Most Indymedia groups across the USA refuse to publish this report; thus, by their actions these Indy groups are clearly controlled by the fbi and the cia. This subversion of Indymedia is further evidence of the totalitarian state that presently grips the USA and that violently threatens all nations (either with armed invasions or with stated plans to obliterate specific countries).
    As of May 29, 2008, evidence suggests that the cia has ordered GOOGLE to limit coverage of Sosbee's reports, especially the one entitled:
    The Responsibility For The Collapse Of The USA
    Shortly after the order to Google, the world's leading search engine sends Sosbee a message that the ''cia versus fbi''(sosbee); see GOOGLE'S MESSAGE TO ME DELIVERED ON GOOGLE's on May 28, 2008, at
    via the search engine as follows:

    Google Advanced Search
    Google SafeSearch is ON

    Web Results 1 - 10 of about 264,000 for CIA versus FBI with Safesearch on. (0.15 seconds)

    Geral W. Sosbee vs. fbi, Whistle Blower, ex-FBI Agent of the ...
    The incompetence and lack of leadership in the fbi coupled with the ever increasing fbi abuses of power within the context of the emerging fbi/cia sponsored ... - 89k -Cached - Similar pages
    From Harlingen, Texas
    May 30, 2008

    The VA this date sends a subliminal (and ominous)message to Sosbee that his name on the VA records payment center is hereby incorrectly and maliciously changed to:
    "Gerald W Sosbe"
    The actual entry looks like this in the bank records:
    " 05/30/08 US TREASURY 220 VA BENEFIT 053008 GERALD W SOSBE"

    Sosbee accepts the VA's message as a threat by which the fbi and the cia intend to further intimidate.
    Sosbee to VA:
    This won't work, girls, as I am already prepared for the worst.
    From Harlingen, Texas
    June 2, 2008
    After the above report on the 'Collapse of USA' the fbi turns up the intensity of the directed energy assaults against me, and thereby reveals an ability to completely incapacitate the Target at will. On a scale of one to ten, previous assaults have been about a five (or routinely about a four); over the past few nights the intensity jumps to about six. If the fbi and the cia elevate the intensity to eight , nine, or ten, I am certain that the Target would thereby have his brain entrained.
    [Also, the fbi and the cia have apparently removed from the search engines all (or most) references to the above article as of this date.]