Spooks, dirty tricks, and creative linguistics.

Apr 23, 2008

It seems that the US federal government has been busy lately - a pair of news articles released last week show the lengths they're going to so that they can get their way while seeming to be on the up and up. As you'll recall, back in July of 2005 the city of London, England was rocked by a number of explosions which were placed by suicide bombers to maximally disrupt the public transportation system of the city. The British government probably asked the FBI to assist in the investigation (as suggested by a number of documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act), which brings us right along to the investigation of a former graduate student of chemistry at North Carolina State University. The local FBI field office filed a subpoena to acquire some of the student's records as part of their investigatory effort, which the school complied with. Then something very unusual happened: FBI HQ in Washington made the field agent return the records, then turn right around and demand them again under the USA PATRIOT Act, which at the time did not allow such a thing. The school scratched its head for a moment and refused to release the newly returned records. The local field office then went to get a grand jury subpoena for the records, which the school once again complied with. About two calendar weeks after that Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, testified before Congress that the PATRIOT Act didn't go far enough and demanded that the 'act be amended to include such powers.

In case you're curious, you can go to the EFF's website and read the analysis of the documents as well as the originals to see how Mueller stacked the deck.

Also, word that No Such Agency has been wiretapping US citizens inside CONUS since shortly before 9/11 has already made its rounds in the news media, though little has been done about it. No wonder this administration is called the "We know; we're doing it anyway" regeime. Anyway, it was recently discovered that federal investigators for the US Justice Department had seized telephone records to determine who the leaks were that contacted James Risen, who originally broke the story in the New York Times in 2005. As they are wont to be these days, they were amazingly quiet in doing so, either through gag order or national security letters. Either way, heads are going to roll once they figure out who the leaks were.

Funny how everything talked about started in 2005, isn't it?