FBI

As NSA Comes Under Scrutiny, FBI Snooping Flies Under the Radar

The problem is a lot bigger than one agency

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We recently learned that the National Security Agency has a database with the records of almost every phone call made in the U.S. To address public concerns over its surveillance activities, the agency has begun to explain how it uses the metadata—information including when calls are made, how long they last and to whom they are placed—it has accumulated over the last seven years.

Although Americans deserve this explanation, they shouldn't delude themselves. Even if the NSA's controversial program were shut down tomorrow, another government agency that is busy collecting and retaining personal data would keep humming along. True accountability for the government's surveillance activities should also include an airing of—and tighter restrictions on—the Federal Bureau of Investigation's power to collect and store substantial amounts of innocuous information about Americans.