Wednesday, June 22, 2005

NYT: "Social Security Opened Its Files for 9/11 Inquiry" (Eric Lichtblau)

The Social Security Administration has relaxed its privacy restrictions and searched thousands of its files at the request of the F.B.I. as part of terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, newly disclosed records and interviews show.
The privacy policy typically bans the sharing of such confidential information, which includes home addresses, medical information and other personal data. But senior officials at the Social Security agency agreed to an "ad hoc" policy that authorized the release of information to the bureau for investigations related to Sept. 11 because officials saw a "life-threatening" emergency, internal memorandums say.
The Internal Revenue Service also worked with the bureau and the Social Security agency to provide income and taxpayer information in terror inquiries, law enforcement officials said. Officials said the I.R.S. information was limited because legal restrictions prevented the sharing of taxpayer information except by court order or in cases of "imminent danger" or other exemptions. The tax agency refused to comment.
The Social Security memorandums were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group here. Copies were provided to The New York Times.

The above is from Eric Licthblau's "Social Security Opened Its Files for 9/11 Inquiry" in this morning's New York Times. Apparently the Eagles got it wrong. You can't hide your prying eyes. Prying.*

You can't hide your pryin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise.
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your pryin' eyes.

Why is it that way and why are we apparently okay with it? To note another Eagles song, "I Can't Tell You Why."*

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* "Lyin' Eyes" written by Don Henley & Glenn Frey (originally appears on One of These Nights; "I Can't Tell You Why" written by Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley and Glenn Frey (originally appears on The Long Run).