They Hate Us for Our Freedom or Whatever

Long ago, in a blogosphere far, far away, bloggers toiled away in their soiled pajamas in dusty basements, writing posts about things called national security letters and pointing out how breaches of the federal government into citizens' privacy were constantly dismissed as "accidents."

These bloggers were accused of a brain fever caused by a terrible disease identified as Bush Derangement Syndrome by graduates of the renowned Michelle Malkin Medical Institute.

But, in a SURPRISING TWIST, it turns out these bloggers were right to be concerned:
The FBI disclosed to a presidential board that it was involved in nearly 800 violations of laws, regulations or policies governing national security investigations from 2001 to 2008, but the government won't provide details or say whether anyone was disciplined, according to a report by a privacy watchdog group.

The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation sued under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain about 2,500 documents that the FBI submitted to the President's Intelligence Oversight Board.

...In 2007, the Justice Department's inspector general told Congress that the FBI may have violated the law or government policy as many as 3,000 times since 2003 in the course of secretly collecting telephone, bank and credit card records without warrants, instead using so-called national security letters. As many as 600 of the violations could be "cases of serious misconduct," Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said, based on his audits. Those figures were far higher than the FBI acknowledged or reported to the oversight board.

The violations were largely unintentional, Fine said, but were the result of "mistakes, carelessness, confusion, sloppiness, lack of training, lack of adequate guidance and lack of adequate oversight."

The records obtained by the foundation go beyond national security letters. About a third of the reports of violations involved rules governing internal oversight of intelligence investigations, and about a fifth involved potential violations of the Constitution, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or other laws governing criminal investigations or intelligence-gathering activities, the report says.

Well, good thing we've finally got a new administration, and all of that shady nonsense is well and truly behind us.
Though the report focuses on conduct during the George W. Bush administration, it faults the Obama administration for refusing to say whether anyone is currently serving on the intelligence board, a failure that "continues to call into question the legitimacy of current intelligence oversight efforts."

[Previously in Nobody's Paying Attention So Bush Totes Gets Away With It Again: Warrantless Wiretapping Program Ruled Illegal, No Charges in Destruction of Torture Tapes, Bush Admits Being a War Criminal, Bush Administration Broke Elections Law.]

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