U.S. companies support the government’s war effort

Oops.  Wrong generation of “news” reporters.  That headline would have been from WWII, not the post-Vietnam era.  The actual headline is “FBI audit finds widespread abuse in data collection”.

According to the headline, there must be a massive and deliberate government violations of the average American’s civil liberties.  Not until paragraph four does the “reporter” get around to clarifying that the “abuse” concerns suspected terrorists, not you and me.

As far as what happened:

The vast majority of newly discovered violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect, the Post said.

So there really was no government “abuse.”  The last two paragraphs are the real gems:

FBI officials said the audit found no evidence that any agent knowingly or willingly violated the laws or that supervisors encouraged such violations, the Post reported.

Rather it showed that many agents did not understand or follow the required legal procedures and paperwork requirements when collecting personal information, the Post reported.

So the government had no intent to do wrong, its just that the federal regulations are totally baffling and no one knew what they were doing.  So the headline misleads us into believing there was “widespread abuse”, even though there clearly wasn’t.

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