Flak Over FBI and DEA Impersonations

The FBI and DEA's impersonation tactics have been facing a lot of criticism lately. First, there was the case of the cocaine defendant in New York who has filed a lawsuit to stop the DEA from impersonating her on Facebook. The DEA used photos and personal information from her seized cell phone to set up a fake Facebook account in order to trick her friends and associates into revealing incriminating information.

Then there was the disclosure a few days ago that in 2007, the FBI created a fake Associated Press article, put a spyware tool in it and sent it to the My Space account of a Seattle teen suspected of making bomb threats. [More...]

When he clicked on the custom made link to what he thought was a real news article, it activated the spy tool, allowing the FBI to obtain his IP address and track his location, get a search warrant for his house, and interview him (he confessed to making the threats and ultimately pleaded guilty.)

The case is in the news now because of an FOIA request by a reporter. Based on emails in the documents, it appeared that the FBI also made a bogus Seattle Times webpage to "host" its fake story, but the FBI denies this. Apparently, they are saying while the emails suggested using a Seattle Times as a cover, that part of the plan was scrapped after review. Before that disclosure, the Seattle Times reacted angrily:

We are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,” said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best. “Not only does that cross a line, it erases it,” she said.

“Our reputation and our ability to do our job as a government watchdog are based on trust. Nothing is more fundamental to that trust than our independence — from law enforcement, from government, from corporations and from all other special interests,” Best said. “The FBI’s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.”

The affidavit for the warrant is on page 31 of this EFF version of the FOIA documents.

In geek talk, according to the documents received in response to the FOIA request, what the FBI did was have the Cryptologie and Electronic Analysis Unit(CEAU) of the Software Development Group (SDC) of the Operations Technology Division (OTD) "effectuate the remote delivery of a Computer Internet Protocol Address Verifier (CIPAV) to geophysically locate the suspect."

It's a complicated process, which begins when a state or federal law enforcement agency requests such help from the CEAU. The request goes up the chain of command, and if approved, it goes to an AUSA in the district who submits a request to the court for a warrant, supported by a probable cause affidavit. The affidavit tells the court what they are going to do but doesn't give details about the particular spy tool or how they intend to trick the target into activating it, since it wants to keep such specifics to itself. The court then enters an order granting the request and they're off to the races.

Codewords to look for in the order: "remote access search and surveillance (RASS)." Another email says, "we basically have 3 tools to locate a computer. Basic IPAV, Local Info and Local Info with Getter."

According to the documents, similar operations have been carried out in Cincinnati, Houston, Tampa, and St. Louis. One agent wrote in an email:

[T]his was one of many cases that CEAU/SDG was working on at the time, with successful deployments. In fact, CEAU has so many currently pending operations that I have borrowed an SSA from DITU to work an overseas matter.

The latest impersonation case making the news is in a gambling case in Nevada. The FBI caused internet access to be shut off at various intervals at three luxury villas in Las Vegas. When the residents complained, the FBI sent agents to the villa, disguised as repairmen, so they could get inside and gather evidence without a warrant.

Of course, the DEA and FBI have been impersonating workers from other companies for decades. I had cases in the 70's where DEA agents dressed in Fedex uniforms and driving Fedex trucks, delivered packages containing drugs shipped via Fedex. The difference may be that Fedex agreed to the practice.

Now that the FBI has expanded to faking news articles , journalists are up in arms over the impersonation issue, and we can expect to see them tweeting and reporting every instance of impersonation they come across. I, for one, welcome the exposure, even though none of these new stories surprise me. I also think they only reach the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

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  • Display: Sort:
    CEAU DEA SDC OPD CIPAV AUSA FBI... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 05:15:08 AM EST

    The only good acronym in the entire article?  FOIA

    As I'v said before the DOJ's (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 06:34:15 AM EST
    alphabetical henchmen need to be reigned in.  But how do we do it without getting set up ourselves?

    We need to... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 01:53:00 PM EST
    find a couple hundred easily molded kindergarten aged kids to Manchurian Candidate for 20 years, then get them jobs within the various acronyms for tyranny, and then activate them to sabotage these maniacal organizations from within.

    Never mind, now I sound like a CIA arsehole.

    (Note to NSA, I'm always joking...always;)


    kdog, at my age we need a faster remedy... (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by fishcamp on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 02:31:36 PM EST
    NSA, he may be joking, but I'm not...

    Back to the drawing board... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 02:42:17 PM EST
    I hope when I get to your age I can stop using the "I'm joking" disclaimer.

    Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...and I like to think I still have another 10-20 good years to lose, and I'd hate to lose them to a black site dungeon.


    Spamma Jamma.... (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 02:16:17 PM EST
    or is it?  Maybe a FBI born supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus-ware uber-virus.


    Joke is On You... (none / 0) (#10)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 03:20:42 PM EST
    ...if you clicked the link, it's the spyware download.

    So the NSA basically can track your movements in real life and on the net, why this, it is a sham so people think there every movement isn't being watched by the government ?

    Why aren't they going to the NSA for this information, why the spyware, and deception, it's not needed, they have a warrant and I am positive the NSA would oblige to let the FBI know the guy is taking a wiz at Hooligans and just snapped a picture of a funny joke on the wall and set it to 5 of his best buds, with a page of information on each of them, and their buds, and on and on.

    I have a hard time believing the FBI can't track down a MySpace member in 5 seconds on a bad day.  And who is so dumb as to think making a b-mb threat on the internet isn't going to result in an arrest.  I'm don't like typing the word because I know it's going to get someone's attention.

    My opinion of course.


    Have you seen the story about (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 03:30:53 PM EST
    former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson and the apparently very real possibility that the government hacked her computer?

    Attkisson says that she began experiencing problems using her computer and phone and first turned to a government source who said she was being hacked in a way so sophisticated that it was likely that the US government was responsible. Attkisson then informed CBS who hired a security firm which confirmed the earlier analysis that she was being hacked and the US government was a likely suspect.

    Not only was the government reportedly monitoring her activities but they were also apparently trying to make it seem as though she broke the law by inserting documents onto her computer.

       The breaches on Attkisson's computer, says this source, are coming from a "sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that's proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA)." Attkisson learns from "Number One" that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the "intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool."

        To round out the revelations of "Number One," he informs Attkisson that he'd found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she'd never know they were even there. "Why? To frame me?" Attkisson asks in the book.

    While we already know that the Obama Administration has been spying on reporters, the accusation of hacking into a reporter's computer and inserting incriminating evidence is another issue entirely. It is a straight up crime. No novel interpretation of the Patriot Act or Espionage Act can justify planting evidence.

    Do you think there's any coincidence in the fact that she was one of the reporters responsible for the Benghazi story?

    If this is true - and it's no longer as hard to believe as it might have been a decade ago - this is no longer - and maybe it hasn't been for a while - about which party is in power, it's a matter of abuse of power, and those abuses are going to continue - and get worse - as long as no one is ever held accountable for them.

    I don't see any sign of accountability, does anyone else?

    We now have an impossibly (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 04:22:25 PM EST
    Byzantine system of watchers requiring an impossibly Byzantine system to watch the watchers.

    Given her past track record, and the (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 08:47:37 AM EST
    Fact that she's selling a book about the liberal bias of CBS, perhaps her account should be take with a grain or two of salt:

    Sharyl Attkisson's new book shows the common interest between a discredited journalist trying to cash in on right-wing credibility and the conservative machine that wants its media worldview confirmed.

    Attkisson resigned in March after two decades at CBS News, reportedly in part because she believed the network had stymied her reporting due to "liberal bias." Staffers there reportedly characterized her work, which often focused on trumped-up claims of Obama administration misdeeds, as "agenda-driven," leading "network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting."

    In her forthcoming book, Stonewalled, Attkisson alleges that the press has been protecting Obama from scrutiny for ideological reasons. "Attkisson doesn't explicitly accuse CBS and the rest of the mainstream media of a pervasive liberal bias," writes Fox News' Howard Kurtz in a review. "But that view is clear from sheer accumulation of detail in her book."

    Based on press accounts, Attkisson's allegations of CBS News' bias rely largely on her own recollections of conversations she says she had with her former colleagues. The network declined Media Matters' request for comment, but one apparent subject of Attkisson's criticism has denied her account.

    Attkisson's credibility is central to determining whether to believe her claims. Given her history of conspiratorial claims and shoddy reporting -- including her false and baseless claim that Media Matters may have been paid to attack her -- it is difficult to take her story at face value. But one thing is clear: her message is very valuable to both right-wing media and Attkisson herself.

    Sharyl Attkisson's Stonewalled Tells Conservatives What They Want To Hear


    I wondered about these things myself, (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Anne on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:55:04 AM EST
    especially as soon as I saw "Benghazi" - but I'm kind of at the point where I think it's more possible that it did happen than that it didn't, simply because we keep finding more and more indication that these kinds of tactics are being used.

    And while I totally agree that Attkisson's credibility should be in play, I think the government's credibility should be as least as central - if not more so - to this whole thing as hers is.

    Could Attkisson be taking advantage of what we know is the government's intrusion into our privacy to make a claim the government will never do anything but deny?  I don't know - but I can say that I wouldn't accept the government's denial just on the basis of their say-so, either.

    Whether Attkisson is telling the truth, whether this ever happened to her, doesn't change what is, for me, the bottom line: those in charge of this vast security state apparatus are not being held accountable for anything.  


    I very much doubt her account (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:59:05 AM EST
    especially since she doesn't have a report from a company or firm that specializes in computer security that documents her allegations as true.

    I do agree with the larger point, that the security state is amassing data about its' citizens without any overt justification, and that as Noam Chomsky remarked awhile back, acting like a government that is afraid of the very people it is suppose to be comprised of.


    I've been hesitant to mention this... (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 11:06:31 AM EST
    but f&ck it, it's on topic.

    My work pc came down with the sniffles a few months back, the IT guy brings it to the shop and they said it had a virus/malware/whatever so embedded and advanced they could only assume it was government.  They'd never seen anything like it at the computer shop.  Damned if I know how I caught it, I'm fairly internet savvy and know not to clink random sh*t.  I kinda wondered if there was a connection to my TL habit and political speech.  


    If it were, your speech wasn't (none / 0) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 11:44:08 AM EST
    required.  Our host was a defense attorney for an actual terrorist.  No idea how many degrees of separation that comprises but we're all inside it.

    IMHO, they'd be wasting their time here.  We're all cynical about our government as it is, but that's a long way from whacko-loon-dom.


    True... (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 11:59:54 AM EST
    We may be down on the empire 'round here, but we're all pussycats! ;)

    Now that this story is out, I wonder if I hit a very real looking government created fake news article.  Aside from TL, I read a fair bit of news.

    All I know is it's all far too Orwellian around here for my taste, just based on what we know for sure, nevermind what we think we know or simply suspect.


    Or the IT guy (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:07:50 PM EST
    knows your feelings about the government and Big Brother and is messing with you when you just had a regular old computer virus....

    The IT guy... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:17:53 PM EST
    is a friend whom I trust...it was the computer shop who suspected government virus...they don't know me from Adam.  

    Coulda been the Chinese and work related, or just a new and improved regular nonsense trying to score a credit card number (wrong guy! lol)...who the f*ck knows.  But it makes you wonder.


    They probably know what they're (none / 0) (#44)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:52:32 PM EST
    talking about then, and of course, the US government isn't the only one out there trying to peek and poke into peoples' files and computers.

    I would get a second opinion, (none / 0) (#25)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:04:34 PM EST
    just as I would if I had been given a diagnosis of a serious disease from my own physician, regardless of my level of trust in him in general.

    I don't know what the upside would be in monitoring someone who makes Bakunin look like Ayn Rand, but that's probably above my pay scale.


    If it were my personal pc... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:54:44 PM EST
    I might care enough to do that, or if I were actually plotting non-violent revolution and didn't want to reveal the location of the secret rebel base to Darth Vader...but as it is, it's the bossman's machine and it's fixed, so f*ck it.

    And I've seen enough movies to know what happens to those who stop at nothing seeking the truth about their government...you ain't gonna read about my arse dying in a suspicious one car accident, no sir! ;)


    Well, I think (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 04:50:23 PM EST
    we can't confuse capabilities with competence.  Since a work pc, some key words may have gotten attention, such as in ordering more "tanks"---a customer's hot water flow being inadequate.  

    Good thinking KD... (none / 0) (#47)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 05:30:56 PM EST
    I type buzz words all day long...tank, igniter, combustion, pilot.

    And there's the perverted stuff...test cocks, pipe nipples, and my personal favorite...total dynamic head. ;)


    And, on your lunch break (none / 0) (#48)
    by KeysDan on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 06:19:41 PM EST
    you may have mentioned something about a hard rock band, like Guns ...N'Roses.  

    I suppose (none / 0) (#3)
    by lentinel on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 08:20:55 AM EST
    it's just me, but this kind of stuff doesn't do much to make me feel safe - if that is indeed the intent of these governmental agencies gone amuck. In fact, it makes me edgy.

    This article pretty much sums up much of what I have been feeling lately:

    "Obama makes Bushism the new normal"- by Dan Froomkin.

    We're doomed. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Chuck0 on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 06:38:12 PM EST
    please stay on topic (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 08:11:51 PM EST
    it's not Obama. It's law enforcement and privacy and electronic surveillance.

    Maybe the worst (none / 0) (#16)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 08:49:22 AM EST
      FBI in Vegas

       Here, the agents lied to gain access to the premises by posing as reparirmen.

     Consent (to entry) is an exception to the warrant requirement, but it has to be voluntary consent and I don't think there is any question it's not voluntary if the person does not know the true identity and real purpose of the persons he is allowing in to his premises. I don't even see a gray area.

       Other examples present more challenging questions where a false identity is  used to lure people in as opposed to have the people let the agents in (in a cyber/virtual sense).

      I do think that if the phony internet site ruse is then used to  use malware  "enter" the target's computer you have a much stronger argument of illegal conduct by the agents that the conduct is illegal than if agents just set up a phony site and trick people into providing information.


    try again to link (none / 0) (#17)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 08:53:58 AM EST
    Also a big difference (none / 0) (#18)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:07:43 AM EST
      between what the agents did in Vega and past ruses of posing as delivery people is that when the agents posed as delivery people they did not directly use the false identity to gain entry and search premises.

      Delivering a package that the agent knows contains illegal contraband (because the package has previously been interdicted and examined) and then using that knowledge to obtain a search warrant (I believe probable cause exists that  drugs are in the house, because I delivered them to the house an occupant accepted the package and took it inside)is qualitatively difference than using a false identity to trick someone into letting you into the house without a warrant.

    I watched part of a trial (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 09:15:15 AM EST
    Where that happened.  Defendant accused of buying and possessing child p*rn.  FBI agent posed as mail man - delivered package containing videos.  Defendant signed for delivery and accepted package. Boom.  Arrested.

    That's how they got a member of the (none / 0) (#26)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:05:55 PM EST
    band the Pixies, she signed for a delivery that contained heroin, if I remember correctly.

    How that is not entrapment... (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:19:13 PM EST
    I'll never know...to this laymen, most forms of entrapment are totally legal.

    In these types of cases... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:05:26 PM EST
     usually , entrapment is not really an issue. The government is not on the other end of the transaction encouraging the target to engage in criminal conduct. Typically, a private seller sends a package that is flagged by the courier service which notifies law enforcement. Then, law enforcement dresses up as the courier and delivers the package. In that scenario there is really no argument that law enforcement entrapped the target as it did not get him to da anything you could argue he would not have done but for the government's conduct.

      Even in "reverse-sting" scenarios where the government is posing as the seller not the delivery boy, entrapment is infrequently a successful defense.

    Entrapment is a complete defense to a criminal charge, on the theory that "Government agents may not originate a criminal design, implant in an innocent person's mind the disposition to commit a criminal act, and then induce commission of the crime so that the Government may prosecute." Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540, 548 (1992). A valid entrapment defense has two related elements: (1) government inducement of the crime, and (2) the defendant's lack of predisposition to engage in the criminal conduct. Mathews v. United States, 485 U.S. 58, 63 (1988). Of the two elements, predisposition is by far the more important.

       First, you must show government inducement of the crime.  Inducement is a narrow concept; mere solicitation to commit a crime is not inducement. Additionally the fact that the government "tricked" the target into engaging in the transaction does not  establish inducement. you have to show  at least persuasion or mild coercion.  In my circuit that is phrased as meaning  that "a law-abiding citizen's will to obey the law could have been overborne." It's been similarly described as when  government created "a substantial risk that an offense would be committed by a person other than one ready to commit it."

      But, that's not the only reason successful entrapment defenses are not common. Even if inducement has been shown, a finding of predisposition is fatal to an entrapment defense. The predisposition inquiry focuses upon whether the defendant "was an unwary innocent or, instead, an unwary criminal who readily availed himself of the opportunity to perpetrate the crime."  Mathews v. United States, 485 U.S. 58, 63 (1988).

      Because predisposition negates entrapment, if you raise the affirmative defense of entrapment, you open the door for the government to introduce incriminating evidence not directly related to he charge at issue to accomplish that "negating." Often much of  if not all of that evidence would be excluded as irrelevant or because any relevance is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice.


    That's just sick (none / 0) (#29)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:18:09 PM EST
    What was even more sickening (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:26:02 PM EST
    was sitting behind his wife and teenage son who had to hear about all his orders and downloads.  I wanted to go put my arms around them and felt so bad for them.

    That kind of sickening (none / 0) (#32)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:29:28 PM EST
    has nothing to do with the sickening creation of evidence.

    The end does not justify the means, imo. I find it repulsive that the tactic doesn't seem to bother you.


    I'm not sure (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 12:48:45 PM EST
    what you think evidence was "created".  The defendant in the case DID order the child p*rn, thereby committing a crime. And I don't recall saying that the agent didn't have a search warrant.  

    Watch out for tall buildings in that giant leap you're taking.


    For the record (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:00:51 PM EST
    It was the Postal Inspector who got a search warrant to open the package.

    Was that package... (none / 0) (#39)
    by unitron on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:32:19 PM EST
    ...one they intercepted that he had actually ordered, or one they cobbled together themselves?

    And if one they intercepted, how did they know to intercept it?

    And does just anybody get to impersonate USPS employees?  I'd have thought there'd be a law against that.

    Were the Postal Inspectors involved at all?


    See above (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:36:02 PM EST
    Yes, from what I recall (and I didn't sit through the whole trial - just a day, but it was the day the agent was testifying), they had been tracking this guy who ordered this stuff online from overseas.  I don't know what tipped them off in the first place.

    The Postal Inspector got involved, and is it is the purview of the PI, got a search warrant to search the package when it arrived at the mail depot (in conjunction with the FBI).  The FBI agent then dressed up as a postal employee and delivered it for signature.


    okay (none / 0) (#49)
    by sj on Fri Oct 31, 2014 at 11:13:13 AM EST
    That wasn't at all obvious from your comment. If he had already ordered it that's a horse of a completely different color. The way I read your comment, the agent provided the package as well as presented it.

    So... never mind.


    What's to stop some vile (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:17:34 PM EST
    super hacker from making a purchase of child pron or drugs or whatever in someone else's name and having it sent to their home?

    Nothing... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:31:03 PM EST
    The law gets used as a weapon by private actors all the time...to settle scores or just jam up somebody you don't like.  And the law is all too happy to oblige...a collar is a collar, truth and justice be damned.

    Well (none / 0) (#43)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:49:18 PM EST
    it doesn't help that many with a borderline unhealthy obsession with "order" and the societal barnyard pecking order, gravitate to law enforcement to begin with. Generally all people like that require is for someone they're in fear/awe of to tell them a person or organization is a menace to society and they're onboard awaiting further orders.



    In the abstract, nothing (none / 0) (#42)
    by Reconstructionist on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:46:35 PM EST
     Defendants not infrequently claim that to explain the presence of files containing illegal depictions of minors  files on their computers.

      Of course, to be persuasive a defendant would likely need to identify someone with a motive to frame  him, the opportunity and ability to do so and at least some quantum of evidence to corroborate that he did do so. A bald "some other dude did it" defense might not even get by the judge let alone persuade a jury.

     You also have to deal with forensic evidence which can often show:

    when and from where the files were downloaded (often on many different occasions over a long period of time);

    when the software (usually a peer-to-peer file sharing network  program) was installed on the computer;

    whether and when the files at issue were opened and viewed;

    whether and when the files  transferred from the peer-to-peer program's download folder to other locations on the computer.  

    whether the filenames were changed after reaching the computer (usually to make the name less meaningful than say Lolita..., PTHC, etc, and to disguise extensions that identify image and video files.


      The circumstantial significance of the forensic evidence very often cannot be overcome by unsupported protestations "I got framed, I tell you."

       If someone has, say, 10 gigs constituting thousands of individual files, downloaded on many different occasions which it can be shown were then  opened (in a viewing program), moved, organized,  renamed... It's still not totally impossible that he was framed by a criminal mastermind with awesome computer chiops, but it's not likely possible enough to create reasonable doubt.


    More on the Postal Inspection Service (none / 0) (#41)
    by jbindc on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 01:38:23 PM EST
    USPS "mail cover" operations: (none / 0) (#46)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Oct 30, 2014 at 05:12:58 PM EST
    The U.S. Postal Service granted 49,000 requests by law enforcement to track people's mail in 2013 under a program that often lacked proper approval, adequate justification and required annual reviews, a recent audit found.

    Of 196 tracking requests reviewed, "21 percent were approved without written authority and 13 percent were not adequately justified or reasonable grounds were not transcribed accurately," the Postal Service's inspector general office said in the audit. "Also, 15 percent of the inspectors who conducted did not have the required nondisclosure form on file."