This new series of articles at The Intercept based off a cache of FBI documents is really an interesting and terrifying read. The most recent article by Trevor Aaronson (author of The Terror Factory) breaks down the FBI’s authority to research anyone, citizen or not, on public and private servers, for 72 hours.
This might seem like a “duh” statement. But for all those out there that routinely brush off NSA/FBI spying powers by saying “I’m not hiding anything”, consider what this authority is used for. Aaronson shows that these 72 hours are used to find “dirt” that can be used to blackmail a person into working as an informant.
It’s one of the most important tools when building a terror plot that will eventually be stop by the heroes at the FBI. Viewers of the most recent season of the Showtime show “Homeland” will know what I’m talking that. That plot is based off a large percentage of the terror plots that have been foiled by the FBI since 9/11. In fact, Trevor Aaronson’s book, The Terror Factory, lays out this common practice. The article is worth your time. As is the full series over at The Intercept and Aaronson’s book.