The IRS has claimed that agents do not need warrants to read people’s emails, text messages and other private electronic communications, according to internal agency documents.
In a 2009 handbook, the IRS said the Fourth Amendment does not protect emails because Internet users “do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications.” A 2010 presentation by the IRS Office of General Counsel reiterated the policy.
If the IRS says it doesn’t need a warrant to read your emails, that means the IRS is reading your emails without a warrant.
Now, those of you paying attention during the Bush administration might remember a small flap having do with warrantless wiretaps. I think there may have been an entry or two about it in the more partisan left-wing blogs, and a couple of the clearly left-leaning newspapers had a few small items about it. That’s pretty much how you recall the coverage, right? I think it was a “thing” for 2-3 days. It’s hard to remember, though, isn’t it?
If you’re rubbing your eyes in disbelief, that’s because I’m joking of course, and my deadpan style of humor had you momentarily confused. Bush’s violation of FISA was a national story for literally years. The New York Times stories about it garnered a Pulitzer Prize. There were calls for impeachment. It was one of the biggest issues of Bush’s presidency.
I searched national news publications for stories containing the terms IRS and email and warrant for the past year. The Los Angeles Times search revealed nothing. The New York Times revealed nothing. The Washington Post had nothing about the most recent IRS story — although it did have a few stories and other pieces about government’s ability to do this generally.
A Google News search of the terms “IRS email warrant” reveals stories at publications like Fox News, or the Blaze, or Human Events, or the Washington Times. You get the idea.