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December 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: NSL

Government Watchdog: FBI Spies on Wrong Americans Because of Routine Typography Errors

Steve Neavling

The FBI has unintentionally spied on Americans who were not the targets of investigations because of routine, avoidable mistakes, the National Journal reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general discovered that the FBI sometimes collected data on the wrong people because of typographical errors.

“We found that the FBI’s corrective measures have not completely eliminated potential intelligence violations resulting from typographical errors in the identification of a telephone number, email address, or social security number in an NSL,” the report reads. “These typographical errors cause the FBI to request and, in some instances receive, the information of someone other than the intended target of the NSL.”

Despite those problems, the inspector general concluded that the FBI is doing a better job handling national security letters.

Court to decide FBI’s Power over Phone Records

Steve Neavling

Can the FBI force a phone company to turn over its customer records for an investigation?

The question is at the center of a rare civil complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which claims the phone company was interfering with national security, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The case, which is shrouded in secrecy, is expected to answer important questions about the USA Patriot Act.

“This is the most important national-security-letter case” in years, Stephen Vladeck, a professor and expert on terrorism law at the American University Washington College of Law, told the Wall Street Journal. “It raises a question Congress has been trying to answer: How do you protect the First Amendment rights of an NSL (national security letter) recipient at the same time as you protect the government’s interest in secrecy?”