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SECRET RULES ALLOW FBI TO SPY ON JOURNALISTS, CITIZENS WITHOUT WARRANTS

River Stillwood

 

VERBATUM EXCERPT FROM THE INTERCEPT:

SECRET DOCS REVEAL: PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS INHERITED AN FBI WITH VAST HIDDEN POWERS

Glen Greenwald & Besty Reed

As The Intercept and other news outlets have amply documented, in the guise of the war on terror the FBI has engaged in a variety of tactics that are redolent of the COINTELPRO abuses — including, for example, repeatedly enticing innocent Muslims into fake terror schemes concocted by the bureau’s own informants. What The Intercept’s reporting on this new trove of documents shows is how the FBI has quietly transformed the system of rules and restraints put in place after the scandals of the ’70s, opening the door for a new wave of civil liberties violations. When asked to respond to this critique, the FBI provided the following statement:

All FBI policies are written to ensure that the FBI consistently and appropriately applies the lawful tools we use to assess and investigate criminal and national security threats to our nation. All of our authorities and techniques are founded in the Constitution, U.S. law, and Attorney General Guidelines. FBI policies and rules are audited and enforced through a rigorous internal compliance mechanism, as well as robust oversight from the Inspector General and Congress. FBI assessments and investigations are subject to responsible review and are designed to protect the rights of all Americans and the safety of our agents and sources, acting within the bounds of the Constitution.

Absent these documents and the facts of how the bureau actually operates, this may sound reassuring. But to judge how well the bureau is living up to these abstract commitments, it is necessary to read the fine print of its byzantine rules and regulations — which the FBI’s secrecy has heretofore made it impossible for outsiders to do. Now, thanks to our access to these documents — which include the FBI’s governing rulebook, known as the DIOG, and classified policy guides for counterterrorism cases and handling confidential informants — The Intercept is able to share a vital glimpse of how the FBI understands and wields its enormous power.

For example, the bureau’s agents can decide that a campus organization is not “legitimate” and therefore not entitled to robust protections for free speech; dig for derogatory information on potential informants without any basis for believing they are implicated in unlawful activity; use a person’s immigration status to pressure them to collaborate and then help deport them when they are no longer useful; conduct invasive “assessments” without any reason for suspecting the targets of wrongdoing; demand that companies provide the bureau with personal data about their users in broadly worded national security letters without actual legal authority to do so; fan out across the internet along with a vast army of informants, infiltrating countless online chat rooms; peer through the walls of private homes; and more. The FBI offered various justifications of these tactics to our reporters. But the documents and our reporting on them ultimately reveal a bureaucracy in dire need of greater transparency and accountability.

One of the documents contains an alarming observation about the nation’s police forces, even as perceived by the FBI. Officials of the bureau were so concerned that many of these police forces are linked to, at times even populated by, overt white nationalists and white supremacists, that they have deemed it necessary to take that into account in crafting policies for sharing information with them. This news arrives in an ominous context, as the nation’s law enforcement agencies are among the few institutional factions in the U.S. that supported Trump, and they did so with virtual unanimity. Trump ran on a platform of unleashing an already out-of-control police — “I will restore law and order to our country,” he thundered when accepting the Republican nomination — and now the groups most loyal to Trump are those that possess a state monopoly over the use of force, many of which are infused with racial animus.

As the Daily Beast put it in regards to media:

"... [C]lassified FBI rules enable agents to obtain the phone records of journalists with only approval from two internal officials. A cache of previously unseen information on documents dating from 2013 detail the agency’s use of national security letters that enable the bureau to spy on reporters without the previously necessary step of obtaining permission from a judge—via a subpoena or search warrant—or informing the news organization in question. “These supposed rules are incredibly weak and almost nonexistent—as long as they have that second signoff, they’re basically good to go,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. 'The FBI is entirely able to go after journalists and with only one extra hoop they have to jump through.” Christopher Allen, a spokesperson for the FBI, declined to comment on the rules. He noted only they are “very clear” that “the FBI cannot predicate investigative activity solely on the exercise of First Amendment rights.'"

For More:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2017/01/31/secret-rules-enable-spying-on-reporters.html?via=desktop&source=copyurl (Secret Rules "Enable Spying" on Media)

VERBATUM EXCERPT FROM THE INTERCEPT: https://theintercept.com/2017/01/31/secret-docs-reveal-president-trump-has-inherited-an-fbi-with-vast-hidden-powers

FBI UNRELEASED HUMAN SOURCE POLICY GUIDE: https://theintercept.com/series/the-fbis-secret-rules


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