Former FBI agent says agency routinely spies on citizens

NetworkWorld had a chance to sit down and interview Mike German, 16-year veteran of the FBI who is now the ALCU's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy. It was very eye opening to hear what German had to say. 

When asked what the most disturbing fact German had uncovered as an agent in the FBI he said, 

The most disturbing thing we've uncovered is the scope of domestic intelligence activities taking place today. Domestic spying is now being done by a host of federal agencies (FBI, DOD, DHS, DNI) as well as state and local law enforcement and even private companies. Too often this spying targets political activity and religious practices. We've documented intelligence activities targeting or obstructing First Amendment-protected activity in 33 states and DC.

German went on to say that the surveillance is becoming more and more politically related stating that political activity has the largest growing area of surveillance. He says that currently there is so much information to sift through, most of the credible information can't be responded to in reasonable amount of time. 

He finished by saying that the best thing anyone can do to combat the growing government surveillance on U.S. citizens is to let people know how much all of the surveillance systems are costing tax payers and how this information is not helping keep the country any safer.

 

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38 Comments

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so whats the difference between the NSA (National Security Agency) and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) don't they both do exactly the same job keep an eye on the nations security

The title should be "Former FBI agent says agency routinely spies on citizens that need to be spied on"

They could care less what the average person is doing in their life, typically if they spying on someone, it's for a reason....

xendrome said,
The title should be "Former FBI agent says agency routinely spies on citizens that need to be spied on"

They could care less what the average person is doing in their life, typically if they spying on someone, it's for a reason....

And your statement is based on? Do you have evidences to support it?

History shows exactly the opposite......... Btw I am sorry I had to wake you up and interrupted your dreaming....

Made me think of The Simpsons movie "The government actually found someone we`re looking for!, YEAH, BABY, YEAH!"

Did anyone else read through the article and continually add "the" before German's name? I was wondering what a German was doing working for the FBI. It must be too early for me still.

Eh, like many people I don't find this surprising. However, wouldn't it be that any evidence gathered from this spying technique wouldn't stand in court because of the lack of a warrant, and they can't get a warrant without reasonable evidence?

z0phi3l said,
Is this the Change you all wanted?

This isn't the kind of change people were campaigning on, this is just the new security standard in a post 9/11 world.

wv@gt said,

This isn't the kind of change people were campaigning on, this is just the new security standard in a post 9/11 world.

That is true yes, they made sure we think that is the new security standard so we don't ask questions or hold those collecting the information responsible even though we pay for them to spy on us. The errosion of our personal freedoms started off slow, sped up after the 9/11 tragedy and those in power will keep using it as an excuse to take more of our freedoms away. Democrats wanting big government and Republicans wanting a smaller government is the only realistic grey area we're ever going to have when it comes to state sponsered spying. Americans need to fight with a bit more vigor to retain and take back our freedoms that we have lost so far.

oh shadup...this is a direct result of the Patriot Act that GW Bush and his band of criminal thugs enacted to spy on their own neighbors. The real 'change' would be finally trying some of these sonsofbitches for war crimes and constitutional violations.

Not really.

Let's get our heads outta the gol-darned clouds for a moment - if the FBI (and the state and local law-enforcement agencies) *didn't* do that, how much worse could things be? As much as we may not want to think about it, there are times when the rules are best honored in their breach.

Going all the way the OTHER way (which is exactly the ACLU's position) is just as bad, if not worse - yes; I am preaching that there needs to be a middle ground (a gray area, if you will).

PGHammer said,
Not really.

Let's get our heads outta the gol-darned clouds for a moment - if the FBI (and the state and local law-enforcement agencies) *didn't* do that, how much worse could things be? As much as we may not want to think about it, there are times when the rules are best honored in their breach.

Going all the way the OTHER way (which is exactly the ACLU's position) is just as bad, if not worse - yes; I am preaching that there needs to be a middle ground (a gray area, if you will).

Its such a double edged sword, i often change my views case by case

PGHammer said,
Not really.

Let's get our heads outta the gol-darned clouds for a moment - if the FBI (and the state and local law-enforcement agencies) *didn't* do that, how much worse could things be? As much as we may not want to think about it, there are times when the rules are best honored in their breach.

Going all the way the OTHER way (which is exactly the ACLU's position) is just as bad, if not worse - yes; I am preaching that there needs to be a middle ground (a gray area, if you will).

We have a constitution and the concept of fundamental rights for a reason. This country went to war to enshrine those rights onto the citizens. Law enforcement doesn't have the right to ever bend those rules on its own. There is NEVER a case where society benefits from it.

Frazell Thomas said,

We have a constitution and the concept of fundamental rights for a reason. This country went to war to enshrine those rights onto the citizens. Law enforcement doesn't have the right to ever bend those rules on its own. There is NEVER a case where society benefits from it.

Agreed.

as the saying goes... "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Ben Franklin

ThaCrip said,

Agreed.

as the saying goes... "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Ben Franklin

Worded a little differently, this is the quote inserted at the end of my e-mail signature at work,

PGHammer said,
Not really.

Let's get our heads outta the gol-darned clouds for a moment - if the FBI (and the state and local law-enforcement agencies) *didn't* do that, how much worse could things be? As much as we may not want to think about it, there are times when the rules are best honored in their breach.

Going all the way the OTHER way (which is exactly the ACLU's position) is just as bad, if not worse - yes; I am preaching that there needs to be a middle ground (a gray area, if you will).

yeah people like you are usually in the grey, until the time comes for you to be abused, then you quickly change views...

Frazell Thomas said,

We have a constitution and the concept of fundamental rights for a reason. This country went to war to enshrine those rights onto the citizens. Law enforcement doesn't have the right to ever bend those rules on its own. There is NEVER a case where society benefits from it.

Could not agree more!!!!

Frazell Thomas said,

We have a constitution and the concept of fundamental rights for a reason. This country went to war to enshrine those rights onto the citizens. Law enforcement doesn't have the right to ever bend those rules on its own. There is NEVER a case where society benefits from it.

Unless you're the victim?

Being a victim yourself tends to change people's minds.

Frazell Thomas said,

We have a constitution and the concept of fundamental rights for a reason. This country went to war to enshrine those rights onto the citizens. Law enforcement doesn't have the right to ever bend those rules on its own. There is NEVER a case where society benefits from it.

+1

PGHammer said,

Unless you're the victim?

Being a victim yourself tends to change people's minds.

And that is the reason why in civilized societies justice is administered by Courts and Judges who adhere to the principle of the law and not "concerned citizens", "vigilantes" or more or less manipulate mobs. In other words why people have, or at least should have, the right to a fair trial and not get linched either phisically or mediatically.

CoMMo said,

Wow, you think they could come up with something a little more obvious? Anybody who changes their own oil would have noticed something like that, what kind of simpletons do they take people for?

you think most people change their own oil?
it's like thinking most people build their PC.

CoMMo said,

Wow, you think they could come up with something a little more obvious? Anybody who changes their own oil would have noticed something like that, what kind of simpletons do they take people for?

Maybe it was for batteries. 8|