November 22, 2013

While much of the American public and international community have expressed alarm at the far-reaching US National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, the FBI has quietly avoided scrutiny while carrying out intelligence programs of its own.

The bureau, using legal rationale that would make former director J. Edgar Hoover proud, has facilitated the data collection method employed by the NSA’s PRISM program and pressed Verizon to turn over the call records belonging to millions of customers.

Much of the FBI’s clandestine activity originates in a shadowy department known as the Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU). A senior official in the US department of Justice told foreign Policy magazine the NSA would be unable to carry out its responsibilities without DITU, which seems to act as a sort of buffer between the intelligence community and major telecommunication companies, including Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint.

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