Feds No Longer Hiding Their Fourth Amendment Abuses

Feds No Longer Hiding Their Fourth Amendment Abuses

Feds No Longer Hiding Their Fourth Amendment Abuses

It’s no secret that communications data gathered by the National Security Agency has, contrary to government assurances, been used by domestic law enforcement agencies. And now, government spies and their lawyers are working to finalize a new set of rules that will give an official stamp of approval to this abuse of Americans’ 4th Amendment rights.

In fall 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted that some Patriot Act spy provisions put into place to catch terrorists were actually being used overwhelmingly by domestic law enforcement agencies. At the heart of the controversy were so-called “sneak-and-peek” powers which allowed federal law enforcement officials to quietly access information that would usually require a warrant.

EFF reported at the time:

Out of the 3,970 total requests from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 3,034 were for narcotics cases and only 37 for terrorism cases (about .9%). Since then, the numbers get worse. The 2011 report reveals a total of 6,775 requests. 5,093 were used for drugs, while only 31 (or .5%) were used for terrorism cases. The 2012 report follows a similar pattern: Only .6%, or 58 requests, dealt with terrorism cases. The 2013 report confirms the incredibly low numbers. Out of 11,129 reports only 51, or .5%, of requests were used for terrorism. The majority of requests were overwhelmingly for narcotics cases, which tapped out at 9,401 requests.

Now, after years of informally using the anti-terror tools for domestic investigations and instructing officers to lie about how they obtained evidence gathered via “sneak-and-peek,” the government no longer feels the need to hide its 4th Amendment abuses.

 

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