Secrecy News

Domestic Intelligence Surveillance Grew in 2010

By every available measure, the level of domestic intelligence surveillance activity in 2010 increased from the year before, according to a new Justice Department report to Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“During calendar year 2010, the Government made 1,579 applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (hereinafter ‘FISC’) for authority to conduct electronic surveillance and/or physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes,” according to the new report (pdf).  This compares to a reported 1,376 applications in 2009.  (In 2008, however, the reported figure — 2,082 — was quite a bit higher.)

In 2010, the government made 96 applications for access to business records (and “tangible things”) for foreign intelligence purposes, up from 21 applications in 2009.

And in 2010, the FBI made 24,287 “national security letter” requests for information pertaining to 14,212 different U.S. persons, a substantial increase from the 2009 level of 14,788 NSL requests concerning 6,114 U.S. persons.  (In 2008, the number of NSL requests was 24,744, pertaining to 7,225 persons.)

While the 2010 figures are below the record high levels of a few years ago, they are considerably higher than they were, say, a decade ago.  There is no indication that intelligence oversight activity and capacity have grown at the same rate.

A copy of the latest report to Congress, dated April 29, was released under the Freedom of Information Act.

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service addressed “Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire May 27, 2011” (pdf). FISA Amendments in the USA Patriot Act were discussed at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Reauthorization of the Patriot Act” (pdf) on March 9, 2011, the record of which has just been published. Related issues were discussed in another House Judiciary Committee hearing on “Permanent Provisions of the Patriot Act” (pdf) on March 30, 2011.

6 thoughts on “Domestic Intelligence Surveillance Grew in 2010

  1. Wasn’t a Survey/quiz of FBI personnel and supervisors familiarity with protocols for issuance of NSL’s conducted, last year, and 20% of them “failed” the survey/quiz?

  2. i hate to be a conspiracy nut but uhmm.. can’t the US agencies simply ask a foreign agency to spy on Americans for them, then import the resulting information into the US database?

  3. Do we really expect the rest of the world to believe that we are there with our military to give them democracy when we consistently and with the consent of a wimpy Congress reduce our conformance with the law and the Constitution/Bill of Rights?

    Risk preemption (RP) is the basis for all the domestic spying.

    RP says if you don’t know everything about every organization , group, or individual that lack of knowledge is a risk.

    And, Risk can jepardize our national security, it can even endanger the nation.

    If the nation is at risk then fanatical persuit of RP justifies actions that ignore the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or any laws or treaties. After all they won’t be needed if there is no nation.

    The problem is we are killing the thing we say we are trying to save, i.e., a Free Nation with liberty and justice for all.

    The government uses fear to make us accept RP. RP takes our freedoms.

    Its time to choose. Total secuirty is impossible and it certainly is not possible with a Free Nation.

    Don’t let the government use fear to make us accept violations of our basic rights.

  4. For those who are concerned we are in danger of no longer being “a Free Nation with liberty and justice for all” and are witnessing reduced “conformance with the law and the Constitution/Bill of Rights,” I feel that train unfortunately left the station quite a few years ago. The sad truth is that over the past couple of decades we have incrementally lost routine administrative governmental adherence and judicial enforcement of the individual civil rights that once made us special as a nation and a beacon of hope for liberty to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, and as an American I am ashamed to say it, we are no longer special and our government has now been turned into an oligarchical/military dominated banana republic just like every other piece of shit dictatorship in the world.

  5. Freedom does not mean that citizens have the right in this country to track citizens electronically or in cars, become part of a Fusion operation that believes it is a necessary purpose for citizens to participate in surveillance activity without a warrant if selected to do so, and with no transparency or reason given to those that willingly take up stalking.The outcome of this behavior is totally unrelated to being a patriot. The recruitment of citizens and their children using fear is an outrage. For those of us that have German family members, it is obvious that the same fears and suspicions used by fascists is embraced here to “watch” neighbors and report.
    I suppose it never occurs to these self-righteous individuals that eagerly put themselves in charge of their neighbors and eagerly violate other’s privacy and lives, they have trashed what they would demand for their own families! I am reminded of the ignorant and fearful that came to this country before there was a constitution and before there was democracy and justice — The Scarlet Letter has returned but now we have electronics and cars to bring terror to anyone that “is selected” or “suspicious” or “not my religion” or “looks weird” etc. Bin Lauden may have died but we evidently killed our justice system all by ourselves!

  6. I say if the government is going to use fear and secrecy against its citizens, its time to use fear and secrecy against the government.

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