FBI "Going Dark." Budget Request for High-Tech Surveillance Capabilities Soar

Posted: May 19th, 2009 by Militant Libertarian

Antifascist Calling

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2010 reveals that America’s political police intend to greatly expand their high-tech surveillance capabilities.

According to ABC News, the FBI is seeking additional funds for the development of “a new ‘Advanced Electronic Surveillance’ program which is being funded at $233.9 million for 2010. The program has 133 employees, 15 of whom are agents.”

Known as “Going Dark,” the program is designed to beef up the Bureau’s already formidable electronic surveillance, intelligence collection and evidence gathering capabilities “as well as those of the greater Intelligence Community,” ABC reports. An FBI spokesperson told the network:

“The term ‘Going Dark’ does not refer to a specific capability, but is a program name for the part of the FBI, Operational Technology Division’s (OTD) lawful interception program which is shared with other law enforcement agencies.”

“The term applies to the research and development of new tools, technical support and training initiatives.” (Jason Ryan, “DOJ Budget Details High-Tech Crime Fighting Tools,” ABC News, May 9, 2009)

Led by Assistant Director Marcus C. Thomas, OTD describes the office as supporting “the FBI’s investigative and intelligence-gathering efforts–and those of our federal, state, and local law enforcement/intelligence partners–with a wide range of sophisticated technological equipment, examination tools and capabilities, training, and specialized experience. You won’t hear about our work on the evening news because of its highly sensitive nature, but you will continue to hear about the fruits of our labor…”

According to OTD’s website, the Division possesses “seven core capabilities”: Digital Forensics; Electronic Surveillance; Physical Surveillance; Special Technology and Applications; Tactical Communications; Tactical Operations and finally, Technical Support/Coordination.

Under the heading “Electronic Surveillance,” OTD deploys “tools and techniques for performing lawfully-authorized intercepts of wired and wireless telecommunications and data network communications technologies; enhancing unintelligible audio; and working with the communications industry as well as regulatory and legislative bodies to ensure that our continuing ability to conduct electronic surveillance will not be impaired as technology evolves.”

But as we have seen throughout the entire course of the so-called “war on terror,” systemic constitutional breeches by the FBI–from their abuse of National Security Letters, the proliferation of corporate-dominated Fusion Centers to the infiltration of provocateurs into antiwar and other dissident groups–the only thing “impaired” by an out-of-control domestic spy agency have been the civil liberties of Americans.

Read the rest here.

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