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    New York Times: F.B.I. Casts Wide Net Under Relaxed Rules for Terror Inquiries, Data Show

    The New York Times reports on a substantial amount of data-gathering by the FBI:

    Within months after the Bush administration relaxed limits on domestic-intelligence gathering in late 2008, the F.B.I. assessed thousands of people and groups in search of evidence that they might be criminals or terrorists, a newly disclosed Justice Department document shows.

    In a vast majority of those cases, F.B.I. agents did not find suspicious information that could justify more intensive investigations. The New York Times obtained the data, which the F.B.I. had tried to keep secret, after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

    The document, which covers the four months from December 2008 to March 2009, says the F.B.I. initiated 11,667 “assessments” of people and groups. Of those, 8,605 were completed. And based on the information developed in those low-level inquiries, agents opened 427 more intensive investigations, it says. […]

    It is not clear, though, whether any charges resulted from the inquiries. And because the F.B.I. provided no comparable figures for a period before the rules change, it is impossible to determine whether the numbers represent an increase in investigations.

    Still, privacy advocates contend that the large number of assessments that turned up no sign of wrongdoing show that the rules adopted by the Bush administration have created too low a threshold for starting an inquiry. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has left those rules in place.

    Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the volume of fruitless assessments showed that the Obama administration should tighten the rules.

    One Response to “New York Times: F.B.I. Casts Wide Net Under Relaxed Rules for Terror Inquiries, Data Show”

    1. background checks Says:

      And who would blame them honestly, after a huge disaster like 9/11. Nobody wants that to happen again so I understand why they are cautious, even if their methods are a bit unfruitful. I mean, it’s ok to do searches and checks on suspects that show signs of terrorist involvement but checking thousands upon thousands of potential people is just a waste of time in my opinion. Not only that, but I kind of seems a bit of privacy invasion to just go do checks on innocent people.

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