FBI Email Shows Rift Over Warrantless Phone Record Grabs
By now it's well known that FBI agents can't always be troubled to get a court order before going after a surveillance target's telephone and internet records. But newly released FBI documents show that aggressive surveillance tactics have even caused friction within the bureau.
The revelation is the second this year showing that FBI employees bypassed court order requirements for phone records. In July, the FBI and the Justice Department Inspector General revealed the existence of a joint investigation into an FBI counter-terrorism office, after an audit found that the Communications Analysis Unit sent more than 700 fake emergency letters to phone companies seeking call records. An Inspector General spokeswoman declined to provide the status of that investigation, citing agency policy.
The June 2006 e-mail (.pdf) was buried in more than 600-pages of FBI documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.