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FBI questioned legality of post-Sept. 11 NSA surveillance

[JURIST] In the months following Sept. 11, the National Security Agency [official website] provided a "flood" of surveillance [JURIST news archive] information to the FBI, most of which proved to be worthless and a waste of FBI resources, and which prompted FBI doubts about the legality of the NSA's increasing role in domestic intelligence, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The NSA gathered the bulk of its information, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses and names of suspected terrorists, through warrantless wiretaps on Americans' international communications. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III [official profile] probed administration officials concerning "whether the program had a proper legal foundation," but eventually deferred to reassurances by the Justice Department. The Times report cited more than a dozen current and former counterterrorism officials who questioned the sources of the collected information, raising questions of "pointless intrusions" on the privacy of Americans. Some FBI officials expressed unease with the NSA's increasing role in domestic intelligence, citing their lack of training in safeguarding American privacy and civil liberties. Reuters has more.

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