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Documents Provide Glimpse Into Domestic Spying

based on a report by Dan Eggen. October 24, 2005

The FBI has conducted clandestine surveillance on some US residents for as long as 18 months at a time without proper paperwork or oversight, according to classified documents scheduled to be released today.

Records turned over as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit also indicated that the FBI has investigated hundreds of potential violations related to its secret surveillance operations, which have been stepped up dramatically after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but which are largely hidden from public view.

In one case, FBI agents kept an unidentified target under surveillance for at least five years, including more than 15 months without notifying Justice Department lawyers after the subject had moved from New York to Detroit.

In other cases, agents obtained e-mail messages after a warrant expired, seized bank records without authority, and conducted an improper "unconsented physical search," according to the documents.

Although heavily censored, the documents provide a glimpse into domestic spying, which is governed by a secret court and overseen by a presidential board that does not publicize its deliberations. The records also emerge as the House and Senate battle over whether to put new restrictions on the controversial USA Patriot Act, which made it easier for the government to conduct searches and surveillance but has come under attack from civil liberties groups.

The records were provided to the Washington Post by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group that has sued the Justice Department for records relating to the Patriot Act.

You have been reading excerpts from "Data on FBI cite abuses in secret surveillance" by Dan Eggen. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/e27fr. Thanks to informationclearinghouse.info. We visit often and we hope you will too.

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