Saturday, February 19, 2011

FBI may have violated U.S. citizens civil liberties 40,000 times since 9/11

The EFF released a report (pdf) last month on FBI violations of our civil liberties - of the rules that dictate how the FBI can investigate us. It covered the time period from 2001 to 2008, and showed disturbing trends in FBI investigations.

According to the EFF analysis of documents they received from freedom of information lawsuits the FBI may have had 40,000 violations in that time. The violations that were reported often weren't reported for years. The violations ranged from oversight guideline violations (failure to make reports to oversight organizations) to constitutional violations.

Part of the problem is that President Bush relaxed and even removed many of the rules on oversight of FBI operations. Without oversight any agency is likely to overstep it's bounds. President Obama has reinstated some of those controls, but hasn't clarified just what that means. This has some people concerned that the changes may be window dressing. But only time will tell.