You can tell that the national security state (including law enforcement, from local police departments to agencies like the FBI, DEA, BATF, and so on) is diverging from the elected government when national-security agencies can ignore with impunity laws and directives of the elected government. The CIA, for example, committed war crimes and was secure in the knowledge that they were free of legal restraints—indeed, the CIA felt free to destroy evidence of their crimes.
And the FBI has broken many laws over the years, again with impunity. And now they simply ignore the chain of command. Dan Froomkin reports in The Intercept:
Despite the post-Snowden spotlight on mass surveillance, the intelligence community’s easiest end-run around the Fourth Amendment since 2001 has been something called a National Security Letter.
FBI agents can demand that an Internet service provider, telephone company, or financial institution turn over its records on any…
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