May 29, 2002

THE FBI’S “CARNIVORE” EMAIL SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM turns out to have been Osama’s best friend:

The FBI mishandled a surveillance operation involving Osama bin Laden’s terror network two years ago because of technical problems with the controversial Carnivore e-mail program, part of a “pattern” indicating that the FBI was unable to manage its intelligence wiretaps, according to an internal bureau memorandum released yesterday.

Hey, but that’s okay. It may not have worked on bin Laden — but it managed to give the FBI warrantless access to innocent people’s email instead:

An attempt in March 2000 to secretly monitor the e-mail of an unidentified suspect went awry when the Carnivore program retrieved communications from other parties as well, according to the memo.

Oh, I’m sleeping better knowing about this.