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EFF Finds Evidence Of Over 40,000 Intelligence Violations By The FBI (techdirt.com)
169 points by DanielRibeiro on Feb 13, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments



Just a reminder: the House is voting on Patriot Act renewal Monday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. Please call your representative! There are plenty of other ways you can help too.

Get FISA Right's action alert: http://bit.ly/feb13aa

EFF: https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=Us...



The "40,000" figure isn't any less made up than it was two weeks ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2159444


I think I'd much sooner take EFF's word than the FBI's word, about the number. The FBI, most especially under GWB, lies for a living. EFF tells the truth for a living.

I think we can all agree there was rampant, epidemic lawbreaking in the Bush Administration, though, and that it appears to be continuing under Obama. Massaging the exact number smacks of an effort to distract.


I think I'd much sooner take EFF's word than the FBI's word, about the number.

I don't think you understand what's going on here. There is no official number from the FBI that the EFF is somehow contradicting. What you might be mistaking for that is the estimate from a much smaller time frame (2003-2006) from a report by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General. The EFF's estimate is based on that estimate (see footnote 34 of their report).

What I am saying with regards to that number is that the way they combined it with the IOB records they obtained is deceptive. Specifically I have a problem with them using the OIG number (which includes violations as minor as typos) to simply extrapolate a bigger number of the kinds of things reported to the IOB (the data they have) without really acknowledging the differences in the datasets or the wide variation in severity.

I think we can all agree there was rampant, epidemic lawbreaking in the Bush Administration

I don't disagree, but I think that accurately quantifying this with actual evidence is more important than just stating it or worse, exaggerating it for rhetorical effect.

(I have been mistaken for a Republican or Bush apologist more times than I care to recall. I am neither by any stretch. I just don't like politics in general.)

Massaging the exact number smacks of an effort to distract.

That's my point. The EFF is pushing a Big Number (which this article repeats four times) that obscures the more nuanced but less attention-grabbing truth.

I'm disappointed that my posting appears to anybody to be an attempt to distract, so to be absolutely clear: I think people should ignore the big number in favor of reading the report in full and additionally at least skimming the OIG report.


The FBI, most especially under GWB, lies for a living. EFF tells the truth for a living.

The EFF is run by people just like the FBI is; like most things, this is not black and white good versus evil.

The FBI has an incentive to under-report numbers so their practices aren't as scrutinized. The EFF has an incentive to over-inflate numbers so they can get media attention, bringing them more donations. I would think the numbers lie somewhere in between.


I wonder if Obama is ever going to grow a pair and stand up for what's right.

I've never liked him much politically, but I've always had the feeling that deep down he wants to do the right thing. He's just too damn caught up in being a politician.

Perhaps if he gets re-elected?


I believe he's doing exactly what he wanted to do. He had both houses and could have reversed the TSA, cancelled the PATRIOT act, closed guantanimo, ended warrantless wiretapping and spying on americans, etc. But he has done the opposite.

I am curious why you think that he would do better if he got re-elected?


Do you honestly believe that the president has the power to reverse the TSA, cancel the PATRIOT act, close Guantanimo, end warantless wiretapping and spying on Americans, etc.?

He can raise the issue, make public statements, try and push through legislation, etc., but he can't just do all that as simply as you're making out.

He desperately wanted health care reform and he didn't have the power to do that in the way he wanted. What makes you think the president can do all this if he wanted to? It's nowhere near that easy.


I don't really think he would, it's just a vague hope that maybe he'll remember he has a soul or something and actually try to be what he portrays himself as instead of a politically motivated con man. Maybe it's possible he'll come around. I feel like Egypt has changed him in some way. He actually took a minor stand against the establishment. It was timid, but first steps often are.


> I don't really think he would, it's just a vague hope that maybe he'll remember he has a soul or something and actually try to be what he portrays himself as instead of a politically motivated con man.

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/w/who/wont+get+fooled+again_20146...

> I feel like Egypt has changed him in some way.

Which stand was that? The official white house statements were all over the map and didn't become close to coherent until after Mubarek left.

> He actually took a minor stand against the establishment.

He is the establishment....

We'll see how it ends out.

Meanwhile, there's Tunesia and Algeria.

And then there's what Obama did wrt Iran.


Look, you're preaching to the choir. He is part of the establishment, but there are a lot of parts to the establishment, and a lot of others with enough power to challenge his. Not that I find this anywhere near a valid excuse for his frankly criminal abuses and negligence, but he doesn't have a free hand. He got where he is by pleasing the powerful. It's probably difficult in our time and perhaps any other to find a ruler of a powerful country who hasn't committed criminal abuses and negligence. That's the sort of person who achieves those positions. Now he himself is one of the powerful, but still risks a lot by going against the line, even as president. Is it unlikely that he will change? Yes. But it would still be nice if he did. I believe it's possible, to some extent, though not very probable. Stranger things have happened.


> but [Obama] doesn't have a free hand.

And yet Bush did....

> Now he himself is one of the powerful, but still risks a lot by going against the line, even as president.

Oh really? What? Be very specific.

You've "confused" Obama with your wishes and are now inventing excuses because the alternative is acknowledging that he isn't what you wanted him to be.

Or, as Glenn Reynolds puts it "They told me if I voted for McCain {insert bad thing} would happen." when he points out what Obama has actually done.


What a surprise.


The number was 40,000 4-5 years ago when I was debating this case in policy debate in highschool. I fought against it then, and no one gave a shit. Doesn't surprise me that it has continued to occur.


The number was 40,000 4-5 years ago

Source?


Well, I'm assuming they're talking about NSLs, which was my case specifically. Wish I still had a copy of the case in front of me. I'll see what I can dig up.

From the FBI themselves (published March 2007):

"In the period covered by the report, the number of NSL requests has ranged from approximately 40,000 to 60,000 per year and we have requested information on less than 20,000 persons per year."

http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/the-fbis-use-of-national-s...

Note that NSLs require NO court oversight, though sometimes are required to "justified" after the fact. They can be issued on the spot by field agents, and generally, a single NSL is served on a group of people, they're not limited to individuals. Furthermore, the NSL includes a gag order that prohibits you from disclosing that your privacy is being violated by the use of one.


The article on Friday[1] about the ISP director who challenged his NSL mentions in both the Reddit AMA and his 27c3 talk that between about 2004 and 2008, the FBI served about 200,000 NSLs.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2208093


I'm assuming they're talking about NSLs

They're are not talking about the number of NSLs issued, they're talking about potential violations of the law, some of which involve NSLs. That's the confusion.

Incidentally, the link you posted is the FBI responding to the same OIG report that the EFF references.




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