More spy abuse by FBI, Pentagon

The Pentagon has misled Congress and the US public by conniving with the FBI to obtain hundreds of financial, telephone and Internet records without court approval, civil-rights campaigners said Sunday.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has successfully challenged key planks of US anti-terrorism legislation, said it had uncovered 455 “National Security Letters” (NSLs) issued at the behest of the Department of Defense.

Before the ACLU’s challenge, the USA Patriot Act had allowed the FBI to issue gag orders to prevent those receiving NSLs — usually Internet service providers, banks and libraries — from disclosing anything about the request.

Beyond the gag orders, the ACLU said its analysis of the letters showed the Pentagon and FBI had collaborated “to circumvent the law” and “provided misleading information to Congress” about the nature and reach of the requests.

“Once again, the Bush administration’s unchecked authority has led to abuse and civil liberties violations,” ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.

The claim came as Democrats and Republicans battle in Congress over updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which critics say has been abused by President George W. Bush to spy on Americans.

“At the very least, it certainly looks like the FBI and DoD are conspiring to evade limits placed on the Department of Defense’s surveillance powers,” Romero said.

While the Federal Bureau of Intelligence enjoys broad powers of surveillance under the Patriot Act, the Pentagon’s authority is more limited and it is normally expected to go through the FBI for such information.

The documents show that in many cases, the FBI has merely acted as a front for the Pentagon, enabling defense officials to gain access to records they are “not entitled to receive,” according to the ACLU.

The group said it had obtained the records after suing the two government agencies under the Freedom of Information Act.

“The expanded role of the military in domestic intelligence gathering is troubling,” said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.

“These documents reveal that the military is gaining access to records here in the US — in secret and without any meaningful oversight.”

Pentagon spokespersons were not immediately available Sunday to respond to the report.


  1. Steve Horn

    “While the Federal Bureau of Intelligence” ?? Has another bureau been created that I’m not aware of? Here I thought the FBI was the “Federal Bureau of Investigation” –

    A “Federal Bureau of Intelligence” under the current administration would consist of an empty office building …



  2. Janet

    Good catch, Steve. And an even better comment.

    1.20.09…Bush’s Last Day…1.20.09…Bush’s Last Day…1.20.09…Bush’s Last Day…

    If Bush and Cheney really cared about the good of the country instead of their own power machinations, they would both resign and let us move forward to restore integrity and competence.

  3. Donnat

    The paranoia of this administration is almost Stalin-esque. We will never be safe while Bush and Cheney are not in prison.

  4. Janet

    Thanks LFTL, but I already have, not one, but 2 01.20.09 Bush’s Last Day bumper stickers on my car, and 3 more to last until inaugaration day if the first 2 wear out. I also have a 1.20.09 t-shirt.

    check out

  5. LurkingFromTheLeft

    Thanks for the site link…

    …might just have to treat my dog to some Bushie Biscuits –

    …let her chew him up and poo him out! –


  6. SEAL

    Considering the lack of the odd couples efforts to cover their asses with more legality for all the things they have done for six years, they must have believed the repugnant party would continue to rule for eternity. I remember some claims to that effect from the party leaders. They were the most arrogant bunch I have ever seen in government.

    Bush continues to be arrogant. It’s no wonder, though. So far, the democraps have continued to allow him to do as he pleases. Exposing him and his henchmen does no good for the nation if the let him carry on with his destruction. But, of course, It’s more important that the democraps use the exposures to gain more seats in congress and win the coveted White House.

    And the leading news item today is the Fall Sale and Halloween Specials at WallMart.

  7. SearingTruth

    “When everything is secret, everything is legal.”

    “Accusation was conviction, and justice an abominable crime.”

    “It’s time to empty our secret prisons. Let us free the innocent, and justly convict the guilty.”

    “I do not prefer one form of tyranny over another.”

    A Future of the Brave –

  8. Sandra Price

    Searing Truth, why did you close up your forum? I have several people asking for a more open forum for discussing issues in a more rational way. I do send people here but we need more open discussions to get the people involved in freedoms.

    America will never be free again as long as the voters keep bringing back Administrations like this last three! Bush/Clinton/Bush have destroyed our own American respect for the Constitution due to their secrecy in government.

  9. justanothercoverup

    New evidence conclusively demonstrates that Bush began the illegal surveillance of Americans long before September the 11th, 2001 – and in fact began as early as February 27th, 2001. This new evidence suggests that Bush began illegally wiretapping Americans shortly after he was installed in office by the Supreme Court, and if the Congress fails to impeach Bush and Cheney considering this new evidence – they should be heralded as cowards and traitors, as they have a sworn duty to impeach when the preponderance of evidence has proven that the President lied to Congress, the American people, and the world when he stated the wiretapping program was started because of 9-11. The lies have finally caught-up with this administration, and the people of the United States should stand in solidarity and demand that Congress fulfill its duty to impeach these charlatans immediately, or in the alternative, accept the immediate resignations of President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney!

    With This New Evidence, Congress Must Impeach Bush and Cheney

    It’s time for action, and now that we know the truth, how can the White House justify attempting to spy on the American people just one month after they were placed in office? It’s time for action, and with this new evidence, the squatters in the White House need to resign immediately, or be impeached and prosecuted.

    William Cormier