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Classified Rules Allow FBI Agents to Spy on Journalists without Warrant

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Without a warrant, the FBI is permitted to use secret surveillance to obtain journalists’ phone records with the approval of two government officials.

The Intercept obtained classified rules that show agents only have to get the consent of the FBI’s general counsel and executive assistant director of its national security branch.

Privacy and media advocates said the FBI has made it too easy to bypass courts to get subpoenas or search warrants to access journalists’ information.

The classified rules mean that agents could try to identify leakers and sources of new.

“These supposed rules are incredibly weak and almost nonexistent — as long as they have that second sign-off they’re basically good to go,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which has sued the Justice Department for the release of these rules. “The FBI is entirely able to go after journalists and with only one extra hoop they have to jump through.”


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