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Cutting Edge -

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(generated from captions) Cameras... Microphones... Chips that track us everywhere we go. more easily than ever before Today we can penetrate secrets of electronic surveillance... using the powerful technologies and save lives. Tools that can stop terrorists

to a successful war on terrorism. Without doubt, it's probably the key uses surveillance against us? But what happens when the government Every conversation that was had, 24 hours a day, seven days a week... Everything!

be allowed to go? How far should the government So we should trust the FBI? should trust the FBI, absolutely. I believe the American public Lowell Bergman Pulitzer prize-winning journalist search for answers. and a team from the New York Times If you ask for too much, and nature of American life you are changing the quality under our Constitution. become Big Brother? Will the government has already been taken from us? How much of our privacy We've got somebody moving. coming down the stairs now. Somebody's of a world where someone's watching. The risks and the benefits just outside Washington. Dulles airport, September 11th, 2001. 7.18 a.m., is Khalid al-Midhar, The man in the light shirt

also a member of al-Qaeda. His companion is Majed Moqed, both men are permitted to board. After a brief search, 7.35 a.m. Hani Hanjour. This man is a trained pilot, American Airlines Flight 77. He too is cleared to board crash the plane into the Pentagon. Two hours later, the hijackers 189 people lose their lives. into the World Trade Center - In New York, two planes crash more than 2700 people are killed. In the days after September 11, had left a trail of clues. Americans learned that the hijackers But no one had put them together. attending flight school... TV: Al-Midhar lived in San Diego the dots and prevented the attacks Some say we could have connected of surveillance. by making a much more aggressive use the government took steps to do that. Almost immediately after 9/11, To do more wiretapping, reading of e-mail... bugging, explored new forms of surveillance And the government the behaviour of every American. that could potentially track increased surveillance The moves toward set off an angry and urgent debate. sacrifice our privacy to be safe? With lives in the balance, must we cell phones and other phones They broadened the rights to follow to do tracking and tracing. of the Senate Watergate Committee, The late Sam Dash, Chief Counsel leading experts was one of the nation's that arise from surveillance. on the legal and ethical problems to dragnet all America. They're asking for the right And it's much more important, or a criminal goes free, even if a terrorist goes free, American freedom. that we don't destroy

the risks of a privacy abuse You have to balance of a terror attack. against the risks Heather MacDonald is a lawyer Institute, a conservative think tank. and a fellow at the Manhattan on surveillance. She has written widely with Big Brother stories, Americans love to scare themselves is least likely to happen here even though Big Brother

of checks and balances. because of our tradition of American limited government. This is the essence helped derail the government's effort The fear of Big Brother security failures on 9/11. to fix one of the most glaring airline passengers A system for screening left us vulnerable to more attacks. that many said How many bags, Mr Jones? Since the 1990s, a computerised system called CAPPS, US air carriers have used which stands for: potentially dangerous passengers The idea was to spot as soon as they check in. after checking each passenger's name Airline computers, flagged certain passengers, and reservation details, already on secret government lists - among them, those whose names were based on a set of criteria and others has never fully disclosed. the government were flagged by CAPPS. On 9/11, ten of the 19 hijackers the men or their bags But all that meant was before they got on board. were checked more thoroughly a suicide attack. Almost no one imagined After 9/11, security was tightened, getting flagged by CAPPS computers and many people found themselves without knowing why. I got stopped there, When I was in Seattle, and they were checking me. So they check you, like this. Like that. like that, and down, And so then they just scan you like the cops do, and they go like that, weapons of some kind. for any metal or... 10-year-old David Nelson the CAPPS system two years ago. had his first run-in with because my name was David Nelson My mom said I was getting checked around that had the same name as me. and there's like a terrorist going "Have we figured out the problem?" I said that's wanted and he has his name." She goes "There's a gentleman And she's like "Yeah." I'm like "It's a gentleman, right?" You know, he's just a little guy." I said "You see he's only eight.

with the same name. David has a cousin in town Every time I travel it happens. and I'm not a terrorist. I'm David Nelson, and we're getting held up by this. My little cousin is not a terrorist, and to see someone else. had a special function And some other person who obviously I assume not just David Nelsons of just dealing with, came up. but with special people, "Can I have my licence back? I'm smiling. "Nothing." "What's going on?" Not a sentence, not a syllable. They won't say a word. to stop what was happening, To see if anything could be done Security Administration. Rabbi Nelson rang the Transportation took me hours to fill. They sent me a packet, They needed original documents. They needed everything notarised. had to be notarised. What wasn't original Receipt required. I sent it by registered mail. and they knew everything about me. So I know they got it But I figure it's worth it. Oh, my goodness. They're gonna help me, the TSA is gonna come through... and I never heard from them. Except that where I might have gotten through before, now every single time since I submitted that, I get stopped. It's a very common name. So, there's a Rabbi David Nelson. named David Nelson. Why can't you clean that up? Why can't you discern one David Nelson from another? The only way to resolve those is by more passenger information. That can resolve it very quickly. That's why we want to change the system, to have additional information that can distinguish those on a watch list from the innocent passenger. In 2002, the government proposed what it said was a better way to screen airline passengers - a program called CAPPS 2. WOMAN: ..much more sophisticated. It will verify passenger identities and alert law enforcement officers to terrorists. The idea - first, tell passengers apart by requiring them to submit their date of birth along with their name, address and phone number. Then verify people's identity by transmitting that information to private companies who maintain large databases about where Americans live and what they buy. Finally, based on the private data, and secret government data on terrorists, rate the likely risk of each passenger. The government said that CAPPS 2 would not invade passengers' privacy. The plan under CAPPS 2 was to take information that's commercially available and that information would be kept away from government - that's an important feature of the original CAPPS 2. There's a wall there that would separate that information from government ownership, so that we do not know anything other than whether that identity has been confirmed or not. But the promise of a "wall" did not overcome the scepticism of the American Civil Liberties Union. It warned that the project would inevitably expand in scope and enable the government to compile dossiers on Americans, a dangerous form of surveillance. I understand you don't want the government to use private databases. We worry about the use of private sector data in government hands. The government has a unique power that you or I do not have. When you think that the government, at the hit of a keystroke, might some day be able to put all that information up on one screen, where you travelled, what you eat, what you buy, what you read, who you checked into a hotel room with... full portraits of the lives of ordinary Americans. There were barriers built in. But the privacy advocates portrayed this as some novel intrusion in passenger privacy when it was nothing of the sort. The point of CAPPS 2 was to make sure that the next time you fly you're not sitting next to the next generation Mohammed Atta. It wanted to keep terrorists off aeroplanes by first establishing that you are who you say you are and that you're not included in a government intelligence database. But the privacy advocates portrayed this as some novel intrusion in passenger privacy, when it was nothing of the sort.

In July 2004, the government abandoned CAPPS 2. It was replaced by a new project, Secure Flight, that is not scheduled to be in operation until 2005. Why had the issue of passenger screening triggered so much mistrust of the government, even after the horror of September 11th? The answer lies in the history of government surveillance.

In the past, in the face of other threats to national security, the government has abused its powers of surveillance, and run roughshod over citizens' rights. During the 1950s the United States was confronted by a hostile and implacable foreign enemy, the Soviet Union. Adding to the danger was the fact that the Soviets had a secret network of agents living among us. Their goal is the overthrow of our government. Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation successfully penetrated the US Communist Party by infiltrating it with agents and through the use of electronic eavesdropping.

The electronic devices used on the Communist Party in the United States gave us considerable information at that particular time. Cartha DeLoach served as a top assistant to Hoover during the 1950s and '60s. It told us all those secrets of the Soviet Union. It told us in advance what they were planning on the US. It told us, and it certainly had a potential for telling us, what sabotage the Communists would create in the event we had war with the Soviet Union. So they were very vital and very necessary. The FBI's wiretaps may indeed have been very effective. But strangely enough, since the 1930s, they had also been illegal.

Government eavesdropping has a dark and double-sided history. Undeniably, it has long been a crucial tool for protecting society. But the secret intrusion by government into people's lives can also do serious harm.

Sam Dash, who was the District Attorney of Philadelphia during the mid 1950s, wrote one of the first histories of eavesdropping in America. It was published in 1959. I found that the New York police and police all over the eastern seaboard had been tapping telephones and telegraph lines since 1895 and nobody knew about it. It was all secret and they had the cooperation of the phone company. So this was just an underground practice but accepted by law enforcement... It was accepted by law enforcement, who thought it was legal. One time, in a 1916 investigation, the New York police were prosecuted, but then acquitted by a judge who said wiretapping wasn't illegal. The New York Times then said the problem is there's not enough wiretapping, not too much. The New York Times... They wanted more wiretapping. Of course, the police were saying they need it, that the only way they can solve major crime is through wiretapping. But some saw wiretapping as a violation of Americans' privacy. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes called it a "dirty business". In 1934, Congress agreed, and passed the Federal Communications Act which made wiretapping illegal. But that law did not stop police forces or government agents from wiretapping. Though evidence from wiretaps would be largely inadmissible in court, the taps continued, giving the police and the FBI a quick and easy way to learn the secrets of their adversaries.

As a law enforcement officer, you knew it was being done. I knew it was being done but it was illegal. So the police were doing something illegal, the FBI... All over the country the Federal Communications Act prohibited all wiretapping. The FBI and federal law enforcement officers didn't believe it applied to them, and they wiretapped. A number of cases came before the Supreme Court where the Justice Department said "You didn't mean us! "We're the good people, the law enforcement people." And the Supreme Court said "No, you! You are prohibited." The court's view did not prevail. President Franklin Roosevelt decided that wiretapping was too valuable a tool to give up.

As naturalised Americans, our duties to the Fatherland... The fear of enemy spies inside the country led Roosevelt to give the FBI a new responsibility, beyond fighting crime. It would become America's domestic intelligence agency - charged with spying inside America's borders on potential threats to the nation's security.

To help the FBI accomplish that mission, Roosevelt gave a secret order permitting it to wiretap, provided it got advance approval from the Attorney General. This system lasted until the 1960s, when Nicholas Katzenbach served as Attorney General. In fairness to the Attorney General, it is difficult to turn down the FBI when they write you a memo that says this is absolutely essential to investigation of some terrorist activity or some heinous crime or organised crime. It's hard to pass judgement on that and say hey, it's not crucial. I don't believe you. During World War II, the FBI began using an even more invasive form of eavesdropping - the planting of hidden microphones, known as bugging. Bugging originated in the 1940s. Wiretaps have limited value. You can only intercept conversations between individuals communicating by phone. But what about meetings? And there's where the bug comes in. Bugging, unlike wiretapping, was not prohibited by federal law. For years, the FBI was not required to get advance approval from anyone before installing a bug. According to the Bureau's reading of the law, wiretaps on the phone needed the Attorney General's permission. He never gave it for the others, and they didn't ask. Over time, these technologies would help the Bureau decimate the power of organised crime in America. We had one microphone in Chicago, where the top hoods, the heads of Cosa Nostra in the area, including Sam Giancana, would meet in a tailor shop. It enabled us to save a man's life that they were going to kill and we heard many things concerning their operations, their interests in Las Vegas, for example. Invaluable. In the 1950s, while writing his book on eavesdropping, Sam Dash began asking FBI agents about bugging and wiretapping. Before long, he was summoned to Washington to see J. Edgar Hoover. Mr Hoover said to me "Mr Dash, I understand that you're investigating the FBI. "Now, you understand that the FBI investigates, "it doesn't get investigated. "Now, just as a hypothetical, "assuming that we are engaged in electronic surveillance, "you realise of course it's only to protect national security and lives. "Do you want to interfere with that?" Of course I said "No, sir." He says "Well, we'd appreciate it very much "if you did not continue to investigate "federal law enforcement wiretapping. "Otherwise," he said, "we'd have to seriously consider how we should treat your investigation." J. Edgar Hoover says to you... "You don't want to do anything

"to damage national security or damage saving lives." What were you thinking? I knew enough about the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover to know that he could ruin you. What I've learned since and I had no idea at the time, the FBI had begun one of the largest FBI wiretapping, bugging efforts that they had ever engaged in. It was a part of what was called 'Cointelpro' - short for Counter Intelligence Program. That FBI program included wiretapping, bugging and spying, not only on communists but also the Ku Klux Klan, anti-war activists and others perceived as a threat to the nation's security. * We shall not, we shall not be moved... * In the early 1960s, America's most prominent civil rights leader was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. To many he was a hero, but to others he was a threat. I stand before you today more convinced than ever that non-violence is the answer... Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the privilege of this fellowship and we thank Thee for the capacity for friendship... On January 5, 1965, at Dr King's home in Atlanta, his wife Coretta opened an anonymous package. Inside was a tape recording, made in a hotel room, of her husband with another woman. And there was a letter, suggesting the only way to avoid disgrace was for King to kill himself. "There is but one way out for you" the letter said. "You better take it, before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self "is bared to the nation." The letter and the tape had been sent by the FBI. It had been eavesdropping on King for more than a year. What was he doing that was such a threat? Leading a movement, a non-violent movement, to change the face of America to get rid of racism? Qualifies him to be the subject of surveillance in a wiretap? I mean, come on. The FBI believed it had good reason to investigate King. History has been so distorted in this entire matter. All we wanted to do was what Bobby Kennedy asked us to do - to determine the extent of communist control on Dr King.

That's all we were interested in. One of King's most trusted advisors was a New York lawyer named Stanley Levison. In the early 1950s, he had been a top fundraiser for the US Communist Party. Levison told King he was no longer a communist. J. Edgar Hoover insisted he still was. The FBI, of course, held its breath because we were anxious that the Communist Party not get into the civil rights movement and take it over. That would've been disastrous. In March 1962 Attorney General Robert Kennedy approved an FBI wiretap on Levison's office. Agents also installed hidden microphones, which required no outside approval. By June of 1963, the FBI has overheard hundreds of conversations between Stan Levison and Martin Luther King. In none of those conversations has there been any hint that Levison is any sort of Communist influence or secret Soviet agent. Hoover was unconvinced. The FBI installed a new wiretap on a man close to both King and Levison. Clarence Jones did not find out he had been wiretapped until a decade later. I mean, the boxes and boxes of transcriptions

of my talking to my daughters, my daughters' conversations with their friends. Every conversation I had with Martin King. Every telephone conversation I had with Stanley Levison. Now think about it... Take any three-year period in your life,

any three-year period, and someone is gonna make a transcription of every conversation that was had 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more than 36 months. Everything. But nowhere on the Jones' wiretaps or subsequent taps of King's own telephones, historians say,

was there any clear sign of communist influence. They keep searching for evidence that established that King was acting on behalf of the Soviet Union and they don't pick that up. But instead of stopping the investigation, the FBI stepped it up. Hoover had other reasons to get damaging information on King.

Concerning the failure of the FBI itself to move as forthrightly as I felt and others felt it should have moved... King had infuriated the director by publicly criticising the FBI's handling of civil rights cases, calling the bureau "completely ineffectual".

It was almost a major felony to criticise the Bureau for anything. In Mr Hoover's view, that was the greatest sin that a man could commit. And they wanted anything that they could get to destroy Dr King. The wiretaps had revealed one thing about King that Hoover could use against him -

King was sexually promiscuous. Now, if King was an adulterer, there's no federal violation of that. That kind of information is useless for law enforcement purposes. It is useful for containment purposes. If you can ensure that there is this negative view of King,

you can immobilise King and the civil rights movement. What you have here is a pretty crass effort at political activism on the part of FBI officials in trying to use that information. In December 1963, at FBI headquarters, the assistant director in charge of intelligence, William Sullivan, convened a meeting. Its stated purpose - devise a plan to "neutralise" Martin Luther King. Soon after, the FBI began planting microphones in King's hotel rooms. What the FBI was able to record was er... activities of Dr Martin Luther King Jr with persons... with women... or a woman, other than his wife. The Bureau picked up countless evidence of how King was in his sexual life far from monogamous.

The tapes also established that King told vulgar jokes and used obscene language. What happened next has been debated. Cartha DeLoach says that Hoover did not know about the plan to send a tape to King. But William Sullivan testified that at Hoover's request FBI technicians assembled damaging excerpts into a composite tape. It was that tape, along with the so-called suicide letter, that was sent to Atlanta. King and several close aides played the tape over and over. They concluded it had come from the FBI. King told a friend "They are out to break me." According to Eugene Patterson, who was the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, an FBI agent pressured him to publish a story based on the tapes. He said "We have information from our informant..." and that means, in FBI lingo, a wiretap, "that Dr King is being unfaithful to his wife." And I said to him "We're not a peephole journal. "We don't print that kind of stuff." He came back the next day and tried again to persuade me. He said "You're misleading your readers." And I finally said to him "Look, the news story here "is not Dr King's private life, "it's the misuse of the federal police power by the FBI "in trying to damage an American citizen." It reads "You are done. There is but one way out for you." What does that mean? In 1975, seven years after King's death, a committee chaired by Idaho senator Frank Church revealed what the FBI had done. I don't know if it means confession. I don't know if it means ah... suicide, as has been raised... I have no idea what it means. It's certainly no Christmas card. It certainly isn't. Two years later, a federal judge ordered the King tapes and transcripts sealed until the year 2027.

In the aftermath of September 11th I think we confront this concern that security is paramount... and there is a sense that you should trust the administration and trust the administration officials to use this power responsibly. The lessons of the past is that that trust could very well be misplaced, and the definition of terrorism is much like the definition of subversive. That is to say it's open-ended. And the real problem is you have the possibility of unleashing the monster of FBI surveillance and electronic surveillance activities. The 1960s. An epidemic of illegal drugs plagues the nation's cities. Trying to stop the drug traffic are federal narcotics agents. Six ounces of heroin in this package... One of their most effective weapons - wiretapping.

Since Prohibition, wiretapping had been the policeman's method of choice for stopping illegal alcohol and drugs. When I was a young federal narcotic agent back in the early '60s, every agent had a handset with two alligator clips on the end. I learned very quickly, when you wanted to listen to something, you'd go into the basement of an apartment building, you'd start going up and down the pairs which are the devices to listen in to people's phones... Those little electrical connectors in the box? Little electrical connectors. And when you'd get something interesting, you'd stop and listen. And you could do this whenever you wanted to or whenever you had time? It was just part of the trade. You didn't need approval? This was before Title III. Before the electronic eavesdropping laws. In 1968, a new federal law, known as Title III, marked the beginning of a new era in government surveillance. Title III legalised wiretaps for the investigation of crimes on the condition that law enforcement get a federal court order first.

It became a federal felony to do eavesdropping or wiretapping without a court order and we changed. INTERCOM: Two gentlemen from the FBI to see you, sir.

With the passage of Title III, evidence from wiretaps and bugs became admissible in federal court, a fact the FBI would exploit to go after organised crime. The most damning evidence could often be obtained from hidden microphones planted in mob offices and hangouts. But first, the agents had to get inside. Often, that job was done by an agent who had acquired an unusual set of skills - a man known to his fellow agents as the 'lock man'. Meet Ed Tickel, a legend in FBI history. Tickel, for nearly a decade, led FBI 'black bag' teams into the inner sanctums of foreign embassies and Mafia headquarters. This is his first TV interview. So, working for the FBI, you stole cars. Well... Or removed them. Yeah, that sounds better. You went into homes. Right. Apartments. Yeah. Offices. Offices... cars, boats, everything, you know. Aeroplanes. Aeroplanes, yeah. Whatever we need to get the job done. Tickel's specialty was making keys by hand and on location. So you'd take a blank key... Like this one here? Take a blank key and then wiggle it a certain way and from the tolerances of the lock, you'll get one or two pins marking. Then you file it out.

The pins inside fall on the metal of the key? Then you bind them on the side... Why make a key? So the agents could get in without being detected, and return later on to retrieve the equipment. Tickel used a method called impressioning. With practice you get pretty good. And you can do a key in three, four, five minutes. Then when you leave, you can lock the door. Tickel's first assignment was in New York City where a squad of FBI agents, armed with a court order,

needed to get a mike inside a mob social club. Late one night Tickel was delivered to the front door hidden inside a refrigerator box. Now wait a second. This is your first job, right? And they tell you they're gonna put you in a refrigerator box? Yeah, with my tools and everything I need to defeat the lock. You're right up against... The door. Of this Mafia headquarters? Right. So it was a perfect deal. Once an agent like Tickel gained entry,

an FBI wire man could now plant the mikes. You'd call yourself a wire man, an eavesdropper, a... I'm happy and proud to say yes, I was a technically trained agent with the FBI. Joe Cantamessa was an FBI agent for 22 years. Much of his work still remains secret. We're not asking you to reveal any state secrets... We know there are a lot of sophisticated ways in which collection is done, of sound, of picture and so on. We want to get a sense though what the reality is. The fact of the matter is probably nearly 90, 95 percent of the successful electronic surveillance collection, even today, is done with basic techniques and basic equipment, not that high end, super secret stuff

that nobody's ever going to get me to talk about in public. Simple, simple. That's what we look for when we do installations. The FBI's use of hidden microphones had one of its biggest payoffs in what became known as the Strawman Case. In Las Vegas, the Mafia had been skimming casino profits for years. The FBI went after the mobsters who ran the operation. The FBI believed that a critical mob meeting was to take place in Chicago in the home of a crooked police captain. So you're gonna try to break into a police captain's house to bug a meeting of the Mafia, inside the house? Headquarters called and asked "What do you think? What are your chances?" I told them, like, 80/20. They said "That's not too bad." And I said "No... 20% we make it and 80% we don't." First, Tickel impressioned a key. Then he had to wait. It was probably about three or four in the morning. We went and opened the door. I could hear everything in the house. And just slowly go up there and screwed the mike actually under a coffee table. And it worked, you know, we got it. You got out alive? Yeah. Basically electronic surveillance, whether it be audio, video, or whatever,

means the jury got to see, hear and experience not only the words that were spoken in many cases, but the tone and the inflection and the context of what was said. The FBI wiretapping and bugging operation was nationwide, the largest operation of its kind. In the 1980s, after hearing the FBI's tapes, juries returned guilty verdicts against the Mafia bosses of Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland. It was one of the FBI's biggest victories. In the 1990s, electronic surveillance helped bring down more mob bosses, like New York's John Gotti. The power of the Mafia was fading. The FBI won acclaim for its success against crime. But its performance of its other mission, domestic intelligence, would come under blistering attack because of September 11. SIRENS The United States law enforcement has identified, investigated and disrupted an al-Qaeda trained terrorist cell on American soil. Lackawanna, New York, just outside Buffalo. September 2002. Six young men are charged by the government with providing material support to al-Qaeda. The investigation, the FBI says, benefited greatly from a controversial new law - the Patriot Act.

What it gave us in terms of additional tools and authorities, has been unquestionably helpful in the war on terrorism. But many Americans saw the Patriot Act differently, as a dangerous expansion of government surveillance with the potential to harm innocent citizens. Those who criticise the Patriot Act

must listen to those folks on the frontline of defending America. As patriots, we all want to say yes. We want to support you, Mr President, and Congress wants to, but just as important as Americans and as patriots is our need to be able to say, wait a minute. If you ask for too much, you are changing the quality and nature of American life under our Constitution. What was it about this law intended to fight terrorism that made some people so suspicious? The Patriot Act has more than 150 sections, covering matters ranging from the sharing of intelligence, to bugs and wiretaps, to the seizure of personal records. But to critics, there is a common thread to many of these provisions. They can be exercised in total secrecy. The Patriot Act... has it hurt anybody? Well, we don't know, and part of what we now face, of course, is that it's the worst of both worlds. We not only have government with the power to oppress, but we have secret government. We have tried every means available to us to pry the most basic information out of the Federal Government. And we can't get that information! There's a lot we don't know about how the Patriot Act has been used. ALL CHANT: Hey, hey! Ho, ho! The Patriot Act... Concerns about the Patriot Act have led more than 300 cities and towns to pass resolutions condemning it. In Washington, officials say the protesters are wrong, that the use of surveillance under the Patriot Act has adequate safeguards. Any time you hear the government talking about a wiretap, it requires... a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed. That court order, in cases involving foreign spies and terrorists, comes from a special court called the FISA court. It is the only US court that operates completely in secret. It's done in secret but it is reviewed by a lawfully appointed federal judge. It's reviewed by a host of lawyers at the Department of Justice.

So there's protection in that process.

But realise this is intelligence business. So therefore I think there is some need for maintaining the secrecy of that process and what you collect and what you don't. The FISA court is named for the... passed back in 1978 in the wake of revelations of government spying on political dissenters. From 2001 to 2003, the annual number of FISA intercepts has nearly doubled

and less than 1% of FBI requests have been denied. Wiretaps - there are more FISA applications that have been approved for counter-terrorism wiretaps and electronic surveillance than ever before.

I believe it's doubled since 9/11. Thank heavens for that. If you want to argue the government did a good job

at finding terrorist cells in this country before 9/11,

you'll have a hard time persuading me. The Patriot Act also loosened restrictions on another kind of secret surveillance - the seizure, without a court order, of employment, medical or library records. If the people ordered to hand over information

ever divulge they have been visited by federal agents, they can face legal penalties. An Internet service provider, who chose to remain anonymous, joined with the ACLU in April 2004 to file a lawsuit. They challenged the seizure of e-mail records without a court order. In September, federal judge Victor Marrero declared that the practice was unconstitutional. He wrote "Sometimes a right, once extinguished, may be gone for good." The American public is not going to wilfully or quickly give up its civil liberties without a debate and a fight. My understanding, my knowledge through years of investigation, I say that the federal government agencies today have all the power they need and if not they're not using it correctly, it's incompetence or ignorance, rather than limitations. The Patriot Act focused the nation's attention on the precarious balance of power between citizens and their government. The Justice Department plans to appeal Judge Marrero's decision. The Patriot Act's other provisions still stand. But when it comes to surveillance, there is another major player that knows far more about us, yet is far less regulated than the government. The government, they're amateurs!

Big business is spying on us more than we ever thought of. Captions (c) SBS Australia 2005