This news isn’t exactly a surprise given the FBI’s known history of misuse of power.  Including the power to issue National Security Letters.

A NSL is different that a normal subpoena in two important ways.  First, they do not require probable cause and they don’t have to get a judge to sign off on it.  Second, you’re not allowed to even talk about having received one.  These two factors make for an incredible potential for abuse and the FBI has lived up to that potential.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation has obtained some newly declassified documents under the Freedom of Information Act shows how the agency deliberately misled Congress in order to gain the power to use NSLs

The thing is, this kind of authority should never have been created in the first place.  It gives entirely too much freedom to government agencies to operate without judicial oversight.  That oversight is essential to keep the various branches of government in check.  Each of the three main branches are subject to oversight by the other two.  Things like National Security Letters allow agencies such as the FBI and NSA to operate outside of that oversight and this is something that our freedom cannot tolerate.

Technorati Tags: congress, congressional+oversight, domestic+spying, eff, electronic+frontier+foundation, fbi, national+security+letter, foia, freedom, judicial+oversight, freedom+of+information+act, NSA, nsl, Privacy

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Filed under: domestic spyingFBILast DaysNewsNSAOpinionPoliticsPrivacyTracking

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