The Daily Beast

FBI Screwup Lets Agents Access Information They Weren’t Supposed to See

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos Getty

Department of Justice lawyers revealed Wednesday that the FBI improperly gave agents access to a suspect’s private online communications that only a few agents were authorized to see, sparking privacy concerns that investigators could be sharing too much information without permission.

Virgil Griffith, a young technologist who gave a public talk about cryptocurrencies at a conference in North Korea, was the subject of an FBI search warrant to obtain information from his Facebook and Twitter accounts in March 2020.

The data was uploaded to the FBI’s internal data analysis program created by Palantir, a CIA-funded company that specializes in sorting through huge amounts of information and connecting the dots. And, according to a three-page DOJ letter, an FBI special agent who was not part of the investigation into Griffith but was working on a separate investigation into someone who had spoken to Griffith, online accessed that data without permission from the FBI. A year later, three more FBI analysts started poking around the same evidence without approval.

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