5 Outrageous Examples of FBI Intimidation and Entrapment
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In 2010, the FISA court approved all 1,506 requests by the FBI to electronically monitor suspects. They were also generous with granting “national security letters," which allow the FBI to force credit card companies, financial institutions, and internet service providers to give confidential records about customers’ subscriber information, phone number, email addresses and the websites they’ve visited. The FBI got permission to spy on 14,000 people in this way.
Do they really think there are 14,000 terrorists living in the US?
That's just the beginning.
Now, the FBI is claiming the authority to exercise more surveillance powers, which include undocumented database searches, lie detector tests, trash searches, surveillance squads, investigations of public officials, scholars and journalists and rules that would provide more freedom for agents and informants to not disclose participation in organizations that are targets of FBI surveillance.
Here are five cases of FBI abuse that show the FBI deserves more scrutiny, not a free pass to continue fighting the so-called “war on terror.”
1. FBI’s Use of Warrantless GPS Tracking
Given the fact that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy, one might think you have to get a warrant to place a GPS device in a location that can track a suspect 24 hours a day. Yet, in many cases, law enforcement officers are attaching GPS devices without first getting a warrant.
In October 2010, 20-year old Arab-American student Yasir Afifi was concerned that he had found a pipe bomb when he noticed a “black, rectangular device” attached to his car. Upon finding the device, he posted photos to Reddit.com hoping someone could tell him what was on his vehicle. A couple days later, FBI agents showed up at his apartment to “retrieve the device.”
Turns out, the mysterious device resembling a bomb, which had understandably petrified Afifi, was a GPS device.
As a lawsuit filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) details, “after requesting counsel, the FBI agents continued to make demands of Mr. Afifif and interrogate him…They asked him whether he was a national security threat, whether he was excited about an upcoming (but undisclosed) trip abroad, whether he was having financial difficulties, whether he had been to Yemen, why he traveled overseas, and many other questions.”
Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller are being sued for violating Afifi’s constitutional rights.
Nevertheless, the Obama administration has urged the Supreme Court to allow government to attach GPS devices on “suspects’ vehicles to track their every move.” According to the Justice Department, “A person traveling on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements from one place to another,” and that is why, as of April 2011, they wanted a lower court’s decision that reversed a conviction and life sentence for a drug dealer whose vehicle had a GPS attached without a warrant undone.
The ACLU of Delaware filed a brief at the end of May urging Delaware to uphold its ruling on the case of the drug dealer. The brief asserts, “The Fourth Amendment protects all persons, regardless of their location, from government searches, absent exigent circumstances, unless a court has issued a warrant upon proof of probable cause.” It adds, despite the rise in use of “sophisticated electronics,” the New York Court of Appeals, for example, does not find the public’s “socially reasonable expectation that our communications and transactions will remain to a large extent private” has diminished.
Additionally, the FBI’s use of warrantless GPS tracking is invasive, for the reason outlined by a Washington, DC, federal appeals court: