Nonsequitur: Does the IRS Spy on Americans without a Warrant?

October 27, 2015

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Secret Service all use a technology “sweeper” (called “Stingray”)to collect cellular metadata and cellular content. All of these agencies are required to obtain a court warrant to use the technology under current Federal executive rules.

The CIA and the NSA are also known use this spy tool, but are not required to seek warrants for use. This probably makes sense, given the nature of these agencies and their primary, overseas targets of investigation.

However, it has been revealed through a FOIA request that the Internal Revenue Service also has the “sweeper” tool. The IRS, who primarily investigates internal targets, i.e. US citizens and corporations, is not required to obtain warrants. In fact, it was not publicly known that the IRS was carrying out warrantless searches so there was no public oversight. Did the IRS use this illegal search method against their political targets? It seems likely. Read more here.

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