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FBI surveillance under investigation by DOJ OIG

Semiannual report on civil liberties complaints includes none related to surveillance though
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FBI surveillance of people in the United States is under investigation by the Justice Department office of inspector general.

In a September report (.pdf), the OIG says it's reviewing compliance with the FISA Amendments Act of 2008's requirement to minimize the collection and retention of information about people in the United States. It is also reviewing the number of disseminated FBI intelligence reports the contain a reference to someone in the United States, as well as the number of surveillance targets later determined to be in the United States.

The OIG has also begun to review the FBI's use of pen register and trap-and-trace authority under FISA.

Pen register surveillance lets federal law enforcement monitor whom an individual contacts and when through a communications network, but not the content of the message. Trap and trace lets law enforcement also record the identity and time of those making incoming communications.

Though these FISA reviews go beyond what the OIG must do under the section 1001 of the Patriot Act, it included a summary of them in its semiannual review on civil liberties that section 1001 requires.

Under section 1001 of the Patriot Act, the OIG must review people's complaints that DOJ employees violated their civil liberties. In the first 6 months of 2012, about three-fourths of the 670 complaints involved agencies outside the DOJ, and another 15 percent were not particular enough--for example, complaints about general prison conditions.

Only 11 of the 670 complaints warranted investigation, the OIG says, and none of them pertained to surveillance. They all involved complaints of mistreatment from Muslims in prison.

The Bureau of Prisons has completed six of the investigations, and says it could not substantiate the claims in any of them.

In one of those cases, a correctional officer did not allow an inmate to wear his kufi, a traditional Muslim cap. The BOP said the officer acted correctly because inmates are only allowed to wear black or white, and the kufi was purple. In another, a Muslim inmate said officers intentionally served him a pork patty, which his religious diet would not permit, but the BOP could not find enough evidence to support the claim.

The OIG notes that none of the allegations of misconduct processed so far in 2012 relate to the use of Patriot Act authorities.

For more:
- download the report, "Report to Congress on Implementation of Section 1001 of the USA PATRIOT Act" (.pdf)

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