The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.
FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni said in an interview Monday that the FBI technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act when agents invoked nonexistent emergencies to collect records.
Still, at least the FBI seems to be coming (relatively) clean on this, and says the violations ended in 2007 with changes to the system used. Considering how loose “after the fact” approval is — even when staying within the law — the basis for these wiretaps must have been pretty flimsy.
- Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (comsecllc.blogspot.com)
- Surveillance Without Suspicion: Who Watches the Watchmen? (seattlest.com)
- Does the “Other Party” on a Wiretapped Line Have Any Privacy Rights? (inpropriapersona.com)