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FBI Is Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows


The Federal Bureau of Investigation's top lawyer, Valerie E. Caproni, left, now a Federal District Court judge, developed procedures to make sure no accounts collected through the Prism system and reviewed by the Bureau belonged to Americans.

An unclassified version of a 2012 report outlined the role played by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program.

Credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

The New York Times has obtained an unclassified version of a 2012 report from the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general outlining the role played by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the government's warrantless wiretapping program.

Although that program is most commonly associated with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the report demonstrates that since the passage of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, the FBI has played an ever-larger role in the program. For example, in 2008 the FBI assumed the power to review the email accounts NSA wanted monitored through its Prism system, and in October 2009 the bureau began retaining copies of unprocessed communications gathered through the warrantless wiretapping program. By 2012, the Bureau was nominating new email accounts for collection through NSA's upstream system.

The report also includes previously unknown details of how a series of court rulings shaped the warrantless wiretapping program prior to the passage of the 2008 FISA amendments. The report suggests a May 31, 2007 order issued by Judge Roger Vinson constrained the scope of the program and resulted in a significant drop in the number of so-called "foreign selectors" NSA was able to track under the program, helping to spur the passage of the FISA amendments.

From The New York Times
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