Report: Secret Rules ‘Enable FBI Spying’ On Journalists

ReportSecret Rules Enable FBI Spying on ReportersClassified FBI rules allows agents to obtain the phone records of journalists with only approval from two internal officials. A cache of previously unseen information on documents dating from 2013 detail the agency’s use of national security letters that enable the bureau to spy on reporters without the previously necessary step of obtaining permission from a judgeβ€”via a subpoena or search warrantβ€”or informing the news organization in question. β€œThese supposed rules are incredibly weak and almost nonexistentβ€”as long as they have that second signoff, they’re basically good to go,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. β€œThe FBI is entirely able to go after journalists and with only one extra hoop they have to jump through.” Christopher Allen, a spokesperson for the FBI, declined to comment on the rules. He noted only they are β€œvery clear” that β€œthe FBI cannot predicate investigative activity solely on the exercise of First Amendment rights,” The Intercept reported.