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EFF Uncovers Widespread FBI Intelligence Violations

by Mark Rumold

EFF has uncovered widespread violations stemming from FBI intelligence investigations from 2001 - 2008. In a report released today, EFF documents alarming trends in the Bureau's intelligence investigation practices, suggesting that FBI intelligence investigations have compromised the civil liberties of American citizens far more frequently, and to a greater extent, than was previously assumed.

Using documents obtained through EFF's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, the report finds:

  • Evidence of delays of 2.5 years, on average, between the occurrence of a violation and its eventual reporting to the Intelligence Oversight Board
  • Reports of serious misconduct by FBI agents including lying in declarations to courts, using improper evidence to obtain grand jury subpoenas, and accessing password-protected files without a warrant
  • Indications that the FBI may have committed upwards of 40,000 possible intelligence violations in the 9 years since 9/11

EFF's report stems from analysis of nearly 2,500 pages of FBI documents, consisting of reports of FBI intelligence violations made to the Intelligence Oversight Board - an independent, civilian intelligence-monitoring board that reports to the President on the legality of foreign and domestic intelligence operations. The documents constitute the most complete picture of post-9/11 FBI intelligence abuses available to the public. Our earlier analysis of the documents showed the FBI's arbitrary disclosure practices.

EFF's report underscores the need for greater transparency and oversight in the intelligence community. As part of our ongoing effort to inform the public and elected officials about abusive intelligence investigations, we are distributing copies of the report to members of Congress.

A pdf copy of the report can be downloaded here.

Related Issues: FOIA Litigation for Accountable GovernmentNational Security LettersPATRIOT ActTransparency

Related Cases: FOIA: Intelligence Agencies' Misconduct Reports

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