There was a time in America when law-abiding citizens were protected from privacy-invading illegals searches and fishing expeditions into their private lives. We no longer have those protections today thanks to the F.B.I. deciding to rewrite their manuals and give themselves the power to basically invade Americans privacy without so much as a reason. The F.B.I. will have the right to search your trash, read your emails and other Internet correspondence without having a shred of proof that you have done anything illegal. Meanwhile, so far Congress sits on their hands and has made no effort to stop this illegal and unconstitutional breach of our citizen’s right to privacy. Aren’t all Federal laws and regulations supposed to go through our Congress before things like this can be done to the American people?
I first saw hints about this new F.B.I. “handbook” that gives them unchecked power to spy on American citizens without so much as a reason about a week ago on the news. I have been awaiting the uproar from the informed citizens and groups upon discovering this new set of rules ( or total lack of) that the F.B.I. will be using against American citizens. The N.Y.Times published an article on this new F.B.I. “handbook” on Sunday, June 12th,2011, which you can read here. In that Times article we see the following new guidelines and changes to the F.B.I. operating manual:
The new rules add to several measures taken over the past decade to give agents more latitude as they search for signs of criminal or terrorist activity.
The “more latitude” they refer to there, is generally what are termed illegal fishing expeditions into citizens personal lives without such things as warrants or any reasonable proof of criminal activity. This is what happens when uninformed citizens let the government pass seemingly harmless laws or regulations upon the citizenry and the accompanying “mission creep” that comes with it. Remember the Patriot Act, and its subsequent numerous extensions that have originally passed through congress on a steady basis since 2001 ? The Patriot Act was started as a tool to fight terrorism. On May 26th 2011 Barack Obama signed a four year extension of key Patriot Act provisions. Also in the Patriot Act is the clause that allows National Security Letters which allow the F.B.I. to search telephone, e-mail and financial records without a search warrant. Now the F.B.I.
wants to will expand that privacy invasion power to basically let them spy on anyone in America without a valid reason, search through their trash and search any database on the Internet that holds citizen’s personal records and communications without a warrant or reason! And they are doing it all under the guise of “fine-tuning the F.B.I. manual. Further on in the Times article we see that they have sent us a General Council, Valerie Caproni to spin this into making it appear to be harmless changes:
“Every one of these has been carefully looked at and considered against the backdrop of why do the employees need to be able to do it, what are the possible risks and what are the controls,” she said, portraying the modifications to the rules as “more like fine-tuning than major changes.”
Maybe Ms. Caproni will answer as to why former F.B.I. agent and current ACLU attorney, one Mr. Michael German replied that ” It was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing.” That doesn’t sound like any “fine-tuning” of the F.B.I. manual, but instead sounds like a huge privacy invading power grab! The F.B.I. is now using cloudy terms to try to hide this unconstitutional action also. Terms like assessment are being used as some sort of justification to spy on American citizens without any justification here.
Some of the most notable changes apply to the lowest category of investigations, called an “assessment.” The category, created in December 2008, allows agents to look into people and organizations “proactively” and without firm evidence for suspecting criminal or terrorist activity.
Under current rules, agents must open such an inquiry before they can search for information about a person in a commercial or law enforcement database. Under the new rules, agents will be allowed to search such databases without making a record about their decision. (emphasis mine)
Another added tidbit concerning this privacy invasion of American citizens concerns possible “informants” also known as paid government snitches. One could deduce that if the F.B.I. wants to make someone an informant, having some dirt on them would aid them in persuading said person to become an informant, so lets just change the F.B.I. manual to allow that privacy invasion without a shred of proof of wrong doing by the subject. And Ms Caproni said not only could that information be used to pressure people to assist the government, but it could also be used to determine whether the subject, ( notice it is not suspect, as there is no crime involved that gives them the authority to do this in the first place) poses a threat to the agents.
Last but certainly not least, the F.B.I. will protect the privacy rights of certain people in this new manual. Just who would that be? How about sensitive investigative matter subjects ? These are the F.B.I. types of privacy invasions that are being done to public officials. (IE: Corrupt Government officials and politicians) members of the news media, and of course academic scholars! They need extra protection, which is also at the discretion of the F.B.I. as to just who gets said protection. With the recent killing of the FCC’s fairness doctrine, we now see the F.B.I. is going to do it anyway, Congress be damned:
The manual clarifies the definition of who qualifies for extra protection as a legitimate member of the news media in the Internet era: prominent bloggers would count, but not people who have low-profile blogs. And it will limit academic protections only to scholars who work for institutions based in the United States.
So now the F.B.I. will be in fact, censoring and monitoring the internet, and labeling anyone who speaks out against this type of unconstitutional tyranny as some sort of domestic terrorist or person of interest. With the writing of this article, you can bet yours truly qualifies under the new F.B.I. manual, as they now need no proof of wrong doing of any sorts to invade the privacy of U.S. citizens. This new F.B.I. manual also just happens to come just in time to try to use it to harass anyone who expresses their political views. That’s right, and I am expressing my views right here and right now, and I do not like the F.B.I. granting themselves carte blanche to read American citizen’s email, snoop in their trash, listen to their phone conversations and basically invade their private lives just because they decided to change their damn manual! Note to F.B.I.; You are not elected members of our congress.You have no right to enact what amounts to unconstitutional laws against the very taxpaying citizens that pay your salaries! People had better wake up here and speak up! We are losing our freedoms and rights granted to us as American citizens at a very rapid rate today, all due to an out of control, too powerful government. This is also a great example of why it is wrong to allow our President the power to make appointments without Senate approval. See here. The very same “minor appointments” mentioned in that article are the type of government employees who in fact, wrote this new F.B.I. manual that in fact declares that the F.B.I. has a right to spy on American citizens without so much as a valid reason or proof of wrong-doing!