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FBI can obtain phone records without oversight, Justice Dept memo claims

February 14, 2011 Comments off

Without court oversight, the nation’s top law enforcement agency can obtain domestic records of telephone conversations made to international receivers, the Justice Department claimed recently.

“[The Office of Legal Counsel] agreed with the FBI that under certain circumstances (word or words redacted) allows the FBI to ask for and obtain these records on a voluntary basis from the providers, without legal process or a qualifying emergency,” the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a recent report by McClatchy Newspapers.

The claim put forth in the document released to McClatchy seemed to indicate that the Obama administration has continued the previous administration’s policies.

The Bush administration maintained that the FBI needed such policing powers in order to stop possible terrorism. Critics of the FBI’s surveillance program stated that the tactic was frequently applied in abusive manners.

Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told McClatchy that the OLC’s disclosure that Read more…