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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Snooping in sensitive or off-limits databases a growing problem -- HUD analyst used FBI criminal database for personal reasons -- By Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times

An investigative analyst for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's office of inspector general "misused his position" to dig up criminal history and personal information through the FBI's criminal database — the latest example of government employees snooping into sensitive electronic law enforcement files.

The employee no longer works for the inspector general's office, but prosecutors in Maryland and the District of Columbia declined to pursue a case against the man.

The investigation came to light Thursday after The Washington Times obtained records on the case through the Freedom of Information Act.

Similar reports of misconduct have surfaced in recent years involving police officers in New York, Tennessee and New Jersey, where one officer faced charges in 2012 of using a state police database to track down a woman online whom he saw while driving and waved hello.

The HUD investigative analyst's name was redacted in records provided to The Times. He was a GS-13 employee, earning anywhere from $89,000 to about $115,000 per year based on D.C. locality pay.

The records don't say explicitly why he accessed the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, but the final report on the investigation suggests the reasons involved a domestic situation. The same analyst used his inspector general credentials to falsely represent himself as a law enforcement officer, according to the report.

Dubbed the "lifeline of law enforcement" on the FBI website, the National Crime Information Center is an electronic database containing millions of criminal files. It's available to law enforcement agencies across the country, averaging about 8 million transactions per day in fiscal 2011, according to the FBI website.

But the files, which contain information on stolen property, license plates, wanted people, protective orders and other records, are limited strictly for law enforcement purposes.

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