Eric Lichtblau

With Others


Lichtblau, Eric, David Johnston, and Ron Nixon. "F.B.I. Struggles to Handle Financial Fraud Cases." New York Times, 19 Oct. 2008. []

The FBI "is struggling to find enough agents and resources to investigate criminal wrongdoing tied to the country's economic crisis.... The bureau slashed its criminal investigative work force to expand its national security role after the Sept. 11 attacks, shifting more than 1,800 agents, or nearly one-third of all agents in criminal programs, to terrorism and intelligence duties. Current and former officials say the cutbacks have left the bureau seriously exposed in investigating areas like white-collar crime, which has taken on urgent importance in recent weeks because of the nation's economic woes."


Lichtblau, Eric, and Mark Mazzetti. "Military Is Expanding Its Intelligence Role in U.S.." New York Times, 14 Jan. 2007. []

The Defense Department has been issuing national security letters "to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering." The CIA also uses "national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.... Some national security experts and civil liberties advocates are troubled by the C.I.A. and military taking on domestic intelligence activities, particularly in light of recent disclosures that the [Pentagon's] Counterintelligence Field Activity office had maintained files on Iraq war protesters in the United States in violation of the military’s own guidelines."

[CIA/00s/07; MI/00s/07]

Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror." New York Times, 23 Jun. 2006. []

The secret program begun weeks after the 9/11 attacks to gain access to the SWIFT international database is "run out of" the CIA "and overseen by the Treasury Department," with some technical assistance from NSA.


Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress." New York Times, 16 Apr. 2009. []

According to government officials, NSA "intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year.... [T]he issue appears focused in part on technical problems in the N.S.A.'s ability at times to distinguish between communications inside the United States and those overseas as it uses its access to American telecommunications companies' fiber-optic lines and its own spy satellites to intercept millions of calls and e-mail messages. One official said that led the agency to inadvertently 'target' groups of Americans and collect their domestic communications without proper court authority."


Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report." New York Times, 24 Dec. 2005. []

According to current and former government officials, NSA "has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States" as part of the eavesdropping program approved by President Bush. The officials said that NSA "has gained the cooperation" of U.S. telecommunications companies "to obtain backdoor access [via the switches that act as gateways] to streams of domestic and international communications.... Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation."

[NSA/00s/05; Terrorism/00s/05/War]

Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "U.S. Wiretaps Were of Limited Value, Officials Report." New York Times, 11 Jul. 2009. []

A report by the inspectors general of the Justice Department, NSA, CIA, Defense Department, and ODNI, released on 10 July 2009, says that the effectiveness of the government's program of warrantless wiretaps "was unclear.... Most intelligence officials interviewed 'had difficulty citing specific instances' when [NSA's] wiretapping program contributed to successes against terrorists, the report said....

"The report states that at the same time [President] Bush authorized the warrantless wiretapping operation, he also signed off on other surveillance programs that the government has never publicly acknowledged.... [C]urrent and former officials say that those programs included data mining of e-mail messages of Americans." See also, Carrie Johnson and Ellen Nakashima, "'Inappropriate' Secrecy Hurt Surveillance Effort, Report Says," Washington Post, 11 Jul. 2009.

Text of the Joint Inspectors General Report, dated 10 July 2009, is available at:

[FBI/DomSec/09; NSA/00s/09]

Lichtblau, Eric, and David E. Sanger. "State Dept. Official Arrested in Inquiry on Taiwan Contact." New York Times, 16 Sep. 2004. []

According to law enforcement and intelligence officials, Donald W. Keyser, a former "ranking official on East Asian affairs" at the State Department, was arrested on 15 September 2004. He is "charged with concealing a trip to Taiwan, and is suspected of improperly passing documents to Taiwanese intelligence agents.... F.B.I. agents in the bureau's Washington field office are investigating the case as possible espionage." See also, Jerry Markon, "Powell Aide Gave Papers to Taiwan, FBI Says," Washington Post, 16 Sep. 2004, A1.


Lichtblau, Eric, and Scott Shane. "Files Say Agency Initiated Growth of Spying Effort." New York Times, 4 Jan. 2006. []

According to declassified documents released on 3 January 2006, NSA "acted on its own authority, without a formal directive from President Bush, to expand its domestic surveillance operations in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks." Administration officials said that then-NSA Director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, "had acted on the authority previously granted to the N.S.A., relying on an intelligence directive known as Executive Order 12333, issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.... [M]embers of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees received a classified briefing from General Hayden on Oct. 1, 2001, about the agency's operations."


Lichtblau, Eric, and Ronald Smothers. "New Spy Case Revives Concerns Over Security at F.B.I." New York Times, 7 Oct. 2005. []

"The widening investigation into an F.B.I. analyst suspected of passing intelligence to the Philippines is raising new concerns about the bureau's vulnerabilities in protecting its secrets from internal espionage.... Leandro Aragoncillo ... is accused of improperly combing the [FBI's] computer system to print or download 101 classified documents on the Philippines, including 37 marked 'secret,' and passing the information to Manila."


Lichtblau, Eric, and Barbara Whitaker. "Ex-F.B.I. Agent Is Accused of Passing Secrets to Lover." New York Times, 10 Apr. 2003. [


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