Photo: KAZVorpal via flickr
Without public approval or oversight from Congress, the FBI once again modified its own powers allowing it greater authority to monitor American citizens than ever before.NYU’s Emily Berman, writing for The Atlantic, reports on the third modification of these guidelines since 2001; the FBI can now go through your trash hunting for material with which to blackmail you into becoming a federal informant and do it with far less scrutiny than in the past.
From The Atlantic:
On October 15, the FBI reportedly implemented new rules that relax restrictions on, and oversight of, the FBI’s intelligence collection activities. Although they are not available to the public, reports indicate the changes permit FBI agents to search an individual’s trash with the goal of finding material that might pressure him into becoming a government informant, grant agents the authority to search commercial or law enforcement databases without first opening an investigation, and reduce the type of investigations subjected to heightened oversight because of their relationship to protected First Amendment expression, association, or religious practice.
This is the third modification of the FBI’s intelligence collection authorities since September 11, 2001. First in 2002, again in 2008, and finally, just last week, amendments were adopted with scant public attention and with minimal — if any — congressional involvement. Groups and communities concerned about the new rules’ impact on civil liberties, particularly the risk of religious or ethnic profiling, also had no constructive input. That such momentous changes can take place essentially under the political radar is something of a historical accident, but it has serious contemporary implications.
Berman questions the lack of outrage among citizens and she has a hell of a point. Read her entire piece at The Atlantic.
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