Seems that back in 2013, the Obama administration went to great lengths to do the almost impossible, secretly spy on journalists using the FBI!
New secret FBI rules were written to allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval with far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures.
“These supposed rules are incredibly weak and almost nonexistent — as long as they have that second signoff, they’re basically good to go,” said Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has sued the Justice Department for the release of these rules. “The FBI is entirely able to go after journalists and with only one extra hoop they have to jump through.”
Bruce Brown, Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said that the “use of NSLs as a way around the protections in the guidelines is a serious concern for news organizations.”
The Intercept reports:
The classified rules, obtained by The Intercept and dating from 2013, govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. They have previously been released only in heavily redacted form.
Media advocates said the documents show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information.
The rules stipulate that obtaining a journalist’s records with a national security letter requires the signoff of the FBI’s general counsel and the executive assistant director of the bureau’s National Security Branch, in addition to the regular chain of approval. Generally speaking, there are a variety of FBI officials, including the agents in charge of field offices, who can sign off that an NSL is “relevant” to a national security investigation.
Thank goodness that nightmare is over. Spying on our journalist is not only against all we stand for…it’s a bit creepy.
Yes, Obama, you are creepy!
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