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IP: "Big Brother" Watches "Big Brother"
From: roundtable <[email protected]>
Subject: IP: "Big Brother" Watches "Big Brother"
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 16:30:20 -0400
To: [email protected]
On Tuesday April 28, 1998 COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER Senate
=46inance Committee Chairman William Roth, sited several incidents describin=
mistreatment by the criminal investigation division of the IRS.
The same day The Treasury Department announced that former CIA and FBI
chief COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER William Webster would head up a
special investigation of the IRS's criminal investigation division.
Sunday May 4, 1998 on the CBS show Face the Nation, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN
RELATIONS MEMBER Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan said "The IRS is not out
of control, it's just not under control," "There is no management system."
"The criminal division (of the IRS) got out of control. That SWAT team
breaking into businesses with body armor and automatic weapons - now what's
that?" asked Moynihan. "That is no way to behave with taxpayers. We can get
this under control and will."
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER Moynihan expressed confidence in
Congress and the agency's new director, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER
Charles O. Rossotti, to create such a system and give it a face that is
friendlier to the public than the aggressive, arm-twisting "Big Brother"
described by taxpayers at Senate Finance Committee hearings held the week
of April 28th, and in September 1997.
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER Charles O. Rossotti may be able to give
the system a friendly face The problem is the friendly face will do
little more than hide the same "Big Brother" tactics. Wiretaps may be one
of those tactics.
Some insight into how COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER William Webster
thinks, is found in the USA Today article that follows. The article is
about a record number of "Big Brother" wiretaps in the US. The excuse for
the wiretaps "is a stepped-up federal response to increased terrorist
activity on American soil. Opponents argue that the process endangers the
very liberties it seeks to protect."
COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER William Webster, head of the
investigative team looking into "Big Brother" IRS abuses, is a proponent of
increased "Big Brother" wiretaps who believes,
"This issue is where the rubber hits the road," said [COUNCIL ON
=46OREIGN RELATIONS MEMBER] William Webster, who headed the FBI in 1978 when
the law allowing the secret wiretaps was passed. "It's where we try to
balance the concept of our liberty against what has to be done to protect
The USA Today article follows:
>Hunt for terrorists brings about record rise in U.S. wiretaps
>By Richard Willing / USA TODAY [ October 5, 1998]
>>[ http://detnews.com:80/1998/nation/9810/04/10040083.htm ]
>WASHINGTON -- Federal judges operating in secret courts are authorizing
>unprecedented numbers of wiretaps and clandestine searches aimed at spies
>and terrorists in the United States, Justice Department records show.
> During the past three years, an average of 760 wiretaps and searches a
>year were carried out, a 38-percent increase from the 550 a year from
> Federal judges have authorized a yearly average of 463 ordinary wiretaps
>since 1990 in drug, organized crime and other criminal cases.
> Part of the growth in surveillance is attributed to an increase in
>espionage and terrorist activities in the country.
> "There's a greater quantity of the folks who are potentially problematic
>out there," said Jamie Gorelick, who as deputy attorney general from
>1994-97 helped review wiretap applications.
> Proponents say the surveillance reflects a stepped-up federal response to
>increased terrorist activity on American soil.
> Opponents argue that the process endangers the very liberties it seeks to
> "This issue is where the rubber hits the road," said [COUNCIL ON FOREIGN
>RELATIONS MEMBER] William Webster, who headed the FBI in 1978 when the law
>allowing the secret wiretaps was passed. "It's where we try to balance the
>concept of our liberty against what has to be done to protect it."
> The wiretaps, which are applied for by the Justice Department under the
>Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and carried out by the FBI and
>National Security Agency, have received their greatest use yet under
>President Clinton and Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.
> Since 1995, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts also have
>authorized searches of the homes, cars, computers and other property of
>suspected spies. In its two decades, those courts have approved 11,950
>applications and turned down one request.
> Generally, defense lawyers can challenge the basis for authorizing a
>wiretap. But supporting information for wiretaps authorized by those
>courts is sealed for national security reasons.
> "It legitimizes what would appear to be contrary to constitutional
>protections," said Steven Aftergood, privacy specialist at the Federation
>of American Scientists. "It's a challenge to the foundation of American
>Opponents also say the government is using the wiretaps to replace
>conventional criminal searches, which must meet a higher legal standard.
> "There's a growing addiction to the use of the secret court as an
>alternative to more conventional investigative means," said Jonathan
>Turley, law professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
> The wiretaps are meant to develop intelligence, not to help make criminal
>cases. But the wiretap information was used to secure guilty pleas from
>CIA turncoats Aldrich Ames in 1994 and Harold Nicolson in 1997.
> How the surveillance act works
> * The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 created a special
>secret court for authorizing wiretaps on suspected spies.
> * The court was intended by Congress as a check against the power of
>presidents, who until 1978 had authorized wiretaps and warrantless
>searches in the name of national security.
> * The law requires the Justice Department, and usually the FBI or the
>National Security Agency, to show a judge that the target is a foreign
>government or agent engaging in "clandestine intelligence gathering
>activities" or terrorism.
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