Friday, March 9, 2007

A Short History of the FBI's latest PR Goof

The FBI's latest "Call 877-NO BRIBE" goof of a pr campaign.

A couple of attorneys and myself tried to give the FBI information a couple of years ago regarding public corruption. Discovered the "Day Agent" is little more than a window dressing.

So when the FBI's latest public relations attempt "Call 877-NO BRIBE" rolled out I called.

However, my message was "Calling 877-NO BRIBE" one of the easily identifiable pr campaigns I'd seen in a while - disguising the fact that our government is broken."

Reminded them Carol Lau, head of the U.S. Attorney's office who brought down The Most Corrupt Congressman (Randy "Duke" Cunningham) in the entire history of our country, was fired. Not that she didn't miss overlooking the obvious.

One must ask why, if former councilmember Valerie Stallings plea deal spells out her taking bribes from John Moores, why John Moores was not prosectued.

No investigation in why Real Estate Department attorney Brett Maxfield was fired after outing cozy real estate doing with San Diego's current mayor.

Suggested if they wanted more evidence of judicial corruption to give me a call. An cheerful agent telephoned.

The agent suggested I drop by their office Monday, March 5, 2007 to talk further. Not wishing to further waste my time I declined, stating a prior history of good citizen's being ignored.

So they're coming to my place on Monday to pick up earlier stuff, and more.

Naturally they asked me not to talk about it.

Me not talking won't happen. Here's why.

1. When the Marin County Grand Jury voted to investigate Family Court Judges - the DA rushed in and said the Grand Jury over stepped their role. That sparked a recall election which the Marin IJ, the biggest local paper completely torpedoed. (The Coastal Post did not) However, the FBI decided to investigate. People they talked with reported they were asked to keep quiet. Surprise, nothing happened.

2. In the Pellicano case; Dennis Wasser, the original lawyer who suggested Pellicano go after Steve Kolodny (the most ethical and brilliant divorce attorney in the nation, Period) probably because he couldn't win legitimately against Kolodny, who represented Lisa Bonner against her ex, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. The FBI asked Kolodny not to talk to the press and he agreed. Surprise, nothing ever happened to Wasser.

3. Peter Lance's "Triple Cross." A detailed study of utter incompetence within the FBI, richly rewarded.

4. History. San Diego has sent three judges to prison, so it's not as if they're unaware of reality. However, it was San Diego in the 70's where a bunch of Navy housewives unable to get answers from government about whether their husbands were killed or POW's, first took action. Government asked them to keep quiet - indicating things might not go well for their husband's otherwise.

For a while the wives believed Navy officials shushing them. But only for a while. Sitting around kitchen tables they decided to go to the Paris Peace Talks to ask one simple question: "Are we wives or are we widows?" To pay for the trip they had bake sales. They made bracelets. (I bought three). Keeping quiet is not the answer.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.


(the site that bypasses State Judicial Commissions to provide the public with reports on the judiciary.)

Turns out, the public has a right to worry. Our government is broken. We must fix it.

Comes now from AP

March 9, 2007

The FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about people in the United States, a Justice Department audit concluded Friday.

And for three years the FBI has underreported to Congress how often it forced businesses to turn over the customer data, the audit found.

FBI agents sometimes demanded the data without proper authorization, according to the 126-page audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. At other times, the audit found, the FBI improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances.

The audit blames agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct.

Still, "we believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities," the audit concludes.

At issue are the security letters, a power outlined in the Patriot Act that the Bush administration pushed through Congress after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The letters, or administrative subpoenas, are used in suspected terrorism and espionage cases. They allow the FBI to require telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses to produce highly personal records about their customers or subscribers — without a judge's approval.

About three-fourths of the national security letters were issued for counterterror cases, and the other fourth for spy investigations.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller called Fine's audit "a fair and objective review of the FBI's use of a proven and useful investigative tool."
The finding "of deficiencies in our processes is unacceptable," Mueller said in a statement.

"We strive to exercise our authorities consistent with the privacy protections and civil liberties that we are sworn to uphold," Mueller said. "Anything less will not be tolerated. While we've already taken some steps to address these shortcomings, I am ordering additional corrective measures to be taken immediately."

Fine's annual review is required by Congress, over the objections of the Bush administration.
The audit released Friday found that the number of national security letters issued by the FBI skyrocketed in the years after the Patriot Act became law.

In 2000, for example, the FBI issued an estimated 8,500 letters. By 2003, however, that number jumped to 39,000. It rose again the next year, to about 56,000 letters in 2004, and dropped to approximately 47,000 in 2005.

Over the entire three-year period, the audit found the FBI issued 143,074 national security letters requesting customer data from businesses.

The FBI vastly underreported the numbers. In 2005, the FBI told Congress that its agents in 2003 and 2004 had delivered only 9,254 national security letters seeking e-mail, telephone or financial information on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents over the previous two years.

Additionally, the audit found, the FBI identified 26 possible violations in its use of the national security letters, including failing to get proper authorization, making improper requests under the law and unauthorized collection of telephone or Internet e-mail records.

Of the violations, 22 were caused by FBI errors, while the other four were the result of mistakes made by the firms that received the letters.

The FBI also used so-called "exigent letters," signed by officials at FBI headquarters who were not authorized to sign national security letters, to obtain information. In at least 700 cases, these exigent letters were sent to three telephone companies to get toll billing records and subscriber information.

"In many cases, there was no pending investigation associated with the request at the time the exigent letters were sent," the audit concluded.

The letters inaccurately said the FBI had requested subpoenas for the information requested — "when, in fact, it had not," the audit found.

Senators outraged over the conclusions signaled they would provide tougher oversight of the FBI — and perhaps limits its power.

"I am very concerned that the FBI has so badly misused national security letters," said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees the FBI.

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., another member on the judiciary panel, said the report "proves that 'trust us' doesn't cut it."

Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos said Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "commends the work of the inspector general in uncovering serious problems in the FBI's use of NSLs."
On the Net:
The report is at:
and a good government is a transparent one: See
a site that bypasses State Judicial Commissions to provide the public with reports on the judiciary.