Americans' personal data shared with CIA, IRS, others in security probe (

November 14, 2013 12:00 am

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U.S. agencies improperly collected a list of nearly 5,000 Americans, including police officers, firefighters, nurses and lawyers, based on their purchase of books and videos about polygraph countermeasures, or contact with the authors. These agencies disseminated the list, which contained Social Security numbers, addresses, and professions, to nearly 30 federal agencies including the IRS, CIA, NSA, and FDA. The information was collected as part of a criminal investigation of the authors, but was repurposed into a list that agencies checked in a failed attempt to identify “insider threats,” even though many of those on the list did not work for the federal government. The maintenance and dissemination of this list shows how overbroad collection authorities and inadequate limitations on use of information result in violations of Americans’ First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights to free speech and association, privacy, and due process.

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