Magazine article Information Management

Report: FBI Lied to Obtain Phone Records

Magazine article Information Management

Report: FBI Lied to Obtain Phone Records

Article excerpt


Between 2002 and 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made up terrorism emergencies to illegally collect more than 2,000 phone records from phone companies, according to a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The 289-page report revealed how FBI officials violated their own procedures meant to protect civil liberties and strained their communication analysis unit with non-emergency requests. In many cases, the FBI issued approvals after the records had been collected to justify its actions, the report found.

In an interview with The Washington Post, FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni admitted the bureau violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in collecting the 2,000 phone records.

IDG News Service said the agency used simple verbal requests and even Post-It Notes to request customer records from telecom providers. In many cases, FBI agents said they had secured the required authority to make such requests when they had not. Even when the FBI used formal written requests, it did not track their use or keep copies of them, according to the report.

According to IDG, the report also found the FBI obtained phone records about reporters working for The Washington Post and The New York Times without complying with relevant laws. …

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