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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/14/12

FBI Wants Greater Surveillance Powers

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Doing so violates federal statutes. The DOJ's 2003 Guidance on the Use of Race in Federal Law Enforcement is ignored. It says race can't be used "to any degree" absent a specific subject description. Agents use it and other criteria as sole factors for targeting groups and individuals.

Abuse of power under Mueller intensified. Vast amounts of information are collected about ordinary Americans. Unchecked data mining continues. The Agency's National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) amassed hundreds of millions of records from public and private sources. Much is obtained illicitly. 

Virtually anything is fair game, including financial data, medical records, so-called "suspicious activity reports," and other personal information unrelated to alleged or possible criminal activity.

The USA Patriot Act authorized so-called National Security Letters (NSLs). They expanded the FBI's authority to obtain personal customer records from ISPs, financial institutions, credit companies, and other sources without prior court approval.

Innocent people are targeted. Virtually anything in public or private records can be obtained. "Gag" orders prevent targeted individuals or groups from revealing the information demanded. NSL use continues increasing exponentially. 

Between 2003 and 2006 alone, the DOJ's IG reported nearly 200,000 NSLs issued. By now, they may exceed a million. Using them violates constitutional freedoms. They've eroded enormously en route to disappearing altogether.

Fusion Centers also target personal freedoms. They operate at state, local and regional levels. Originally created to share anti-terrorism intelligence, their mission expanded to include "all (alleged) crimes and all hazards."

Information sought way exceeds material related to criminal intelligence. It includes public and private sector data. Other government entities are involved. So aren't military ones. Dozens of fusion centers operate nationwide. Privacy is grievously breached.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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