The FBI in 2005 reported to Congress that its agents had delivered a total of 9,254 national security letters seeking e-mail, telephone or financial information on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents over the previous two years.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine’s report says that number was underreported by 20 percent, according to the officials.

Fine conducted the audit as required by Congress and over the objections of the Bush administration.

Fine’s audit also says the FBI failed to send follow-up subpoenas to telecommunications companies that were told to expect them, the officials said.

Those cases involved so-called exigent letters to alert the companies that subpoenas would be issued shortly to gather more information, the officials said. But in many examples, the subpoenas were never sent, the officials said.

A federal appeals judge in New York warned in May that government’s ability to force companies to turn over information about its customers and keep quiet about it was probably unconstitutional.

Defenders of Big Brother government keep telling us that regardless of how oppressive and illegal the regulations may be — we can be assured there will be no violations of privacy. We should “trust the government”.

Predictably, that trust has been betrayed. Whether by deceit or incompetence doesn’t mean much.



  1. Misanthropic Scott says:

    “Predictably, that trust has been betrayed. Whether by deceit or incompetence doesn’t mean much.”

    True enough. However, I’ll still bet on by deceit with deliberate camouflage to appear as if it was merely incompetence. Perhaps I’m just a cynical misanthrope.

  2. chitown says:

    no surprise there. it doesn’t matter if it’s government, business, or students in a classroom. without proper oversight, there will be lot’s of hanky panky going on.

    with the Dems and the American public at large demanding more answers what other moldy bits will we find under the floor boards of this administration.

  3. Mike says:

    It must pain liberals to have to be bombarded daily with all of these faults of the government. I would have thought that in order to be the answer to all our problems, it was just assumed that the government needs to keep tabs on us in order to better focus its efforts.

  4. Gregory says:

    Scott – I’d actually go for incompetent deceit myself…

  5. Sam Foley says:

    I know we are all familiar with the novel, 1984.

    I read it last year for the first time since high school…
    every US citizen should read this book.

    Of course, they’d have to stop watching stupid TV shows for a great many hours. saddd, so sad

    Then read “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire”

    I continue to Pray this Congress gets some balls and teeth.

  6. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Sam Foley,

    You bring up 1984. Very appropriate. However, it seems to me that George Orwell got one things wrong. We really don’t need to have the TVs watching everyone. As long as everyone is watching their TVs there will be no thought crime, in fact, no thought of any kind.

  7. RuralRob says:

    That pic MUST have been Photoshopped – the tie the prez was wearing that day was brown!

  8. Mr. Fusion says:

    #7, this picture was taken before Bush went into the washroom to help Uncle Dick Cheney with his (ahem) problem.

    PLEASE bring on the impeachment hearings.

  9. Greg Allen says:

    Just for the record I want to point out: this is YET ANOTHER THING that the conservatives were wrong wrong wrong about.

    We liberals and civil libertarians predicted this kind of abuse would happen with the bogusly name “Patriot Act.”

    And, of course, we were right and the cons were wrong — even though conservatives SWORE this wouldn’t happen.

  10. Greg Allen says:

    #3 It must pain liberals to have to be bombarded daily with all of these faults of the government. I would have thought that in order to be the answer to all our problems, it was just assumed that the government needs to keep tabs on us in order to better focus its efforts.

    You’re living in the past, my friend. These days it is the REPUBLICANS who support invasive, bloated government.

    That’s why you guys ram-rodded through the Patriot Act to the objection of we liberals. And, on yet another issue, we libs were right and the cons were wrong.

  11. TJGeezer says:

    10 – Greg Allen – You only have one thing wrong. If you support the constitution – whether a strict libertarian reading or a more organic, evolutionary Warren-style reading – then you’re the conservative. The right-wingers who posture as conservatives, divert every serious discussion to a manipulative hot-button rant, and want to overturn or at the least disregard American constitutional freedoms – they are by definition revolutionaries, not conservatives.

  12. MikeN says:

    Funny I don’t remember any conservatives swearing any such thing. It’s usually liberals that are expanding the powers of the government, and swear that things will go exactly as planned, whether it’s national health care, IRS powers, or any other laws.

  13. Mr. Fusion says:

    #12, Very interesting take. It is fine for the government to spy on Americans, use weapons such as tazers or these new “heat” beams, imprison Americans without charge, open our emails, order companies to turn over confidential information, etc. Somehow I don’t see them fitting into the Constitution.

    As I liberal I don’t want the “government” to expand it powers. They were laid out quite nicely in the Constitution. When the majority of Americans want to set up a single payer health insurance system though, that is not increasing their power. It is the collective will of the people. When the government sets up a taxation scheme, they will also have the authority to enforce the collection of those taxes.

    If you don’t like the proposed health care reforms or the IRS then please be sure to let your representative know how you feel. In November the American people sent a message that they didn’t like the status quo.

  14. MikeN says:

    So it’s not OK to have companies occasionally turn over confidential information about their customers so the government can see if they might be terrorists, but it si OK if they hand over all info to see if their customers are paying taxes.

    Anyway, this wasn’t my point. Liberals have been expanding government powers, all the time pooh-poohing concerns about loss of privacy or other slippery slope prospects. Why it’s absurd to think that IRS employeed would misuse the government databases!