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The secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved all 1,506 government requests to electronically monitor suspected “agents” of a foreign power or terrorists on U.S. soil last year, according to a Justice Department report released under the Freedom of Information Act.
The two-page report, which shows about a 13 percent increase in the number of applications for electronic surveillance between 2009 and 2010, was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists and published Friday.
“The FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part,” according to the April 19 report to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada).
Aftergood notes that the figures, whether they amount to rubber-stamping or not, do not account for the warrantless monitoring program President George W. Bush adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks. Under the Terror Surveillance Program, exposed in 2005 by The New York Times, the government conceded it was eavesdropping — without warrants — on the electronic communications of Americans if they were communicating with somebody overseas believed linked to terrorism.
The Justice Department report, meanwhile, said the FBI issued 24,287 “national security letter” requests last year on 14,212 people, “a substantial increase from the 2009 level of 14,788 NSL requests concerning 6,114 U.S. persons,” Aftergood wrote in a blog post. In 2008, there were 24,744 requests regarding 7,225 people.
National security letters are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more.
They do not require court approval, and the FBI need merely assert that the information is “relevant” to an investigation, and anyone who gets a national security letter is prohibited from even disclosing that they’ve received one.
Originally posted by againuntodust
So 14,000 people were suspected of terrorism? Cut me a break, I've read that al qaeda only numbers around 100 people total so why would 14,000 US citizens need to be snooped on? Seems like this Patriot Act has about used up its usefulness and now it is more dangerous than helpful.