WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (UPI) — Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI has morphed into a domestic surveillance agency with little accountability, a report said.
The American Civil Liberties Union Tuesday released “Unleashed and Unaccountable: The FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority.” The group said that Congress and the Obama administration continue to support the FBI while the agency targets minority groups and abuses the rights of U.S. citizens and residents.
“The abuse, enabled by a roll-back of post-Watergate intelligence reforms and encouraged by long-standing Justice Department and FBI practices, has subverted internal and external oversight by squelching whistleblowers, imposing and enforcing unnecessary secrecy, and actively misleading Congress and the American people,” the ACLU said.
The agency was transformed during Robert Mueller‘s 12 years as FBI director, the ACLU said. The report urges Congress and President Obama to encourage James Comey, who was sworn in Sept. 4 as Mueller’s successor to make changes.
The ACLU listed what it perceives as the 10 most worrying practices of the FBI and changes in regulations since 2001. They include abuse of the Patriot Act; changes in rules in 2008 allowing the FBI to investigate U.S. citizens without any specific reason; racial and ethnic mapping based on the belief that certain groups, including Russians and Chinese, are more likely to commit certain types of crimes; allowing data collection and mining with little oversight; a “war on whistleblowers” to curb internal dissent; targeting journalists; withholding information from Congress, delaying responses to Congressional requests and even providing misleading information; targeting groups or individuals based on views expressed in writing or speech; assisting foreign governments in detaining and questioning U.S. citizens and residents, a practice the ACLU calls “proxy detentions”; and using the “no-fly” list to prevent U.S. citizens and residents from returning home unless they agree to become informants.