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Tax -- less than a week away and the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into whether the IRS is reading more than just your tax returns.
ACLU workers filed a freedom of information request asking whether the IRS is reading private emails without -- -- it.
If true that could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the constitution.
A guarantee against unreasonable searches.
There are many layers to this story the fox four chief correspondent Jonathan hunt -- looking into it all day.
At the very least the -- rules are unclear.
Yet this is a lot more complicated than we thought it was when we first looked at the headlines this morning -- His -- -- something from the internal revenue manual top nine written in 2009 quote.
The government may obtain the contents of an electronic communication.
That has been in storage for more than 118.
Day he's using a search warrant a court order.
Or -- grand jury subpoena or administrative summons -- ACLU attorney who first wrote this Nathan west left.
Believes that sense and should and act search warrant but it goes on.
The problem here is the administrative summons according to the ACLU that essentially -- -- -- -- IRS agents can talk to each other.
To sign these emails -- relevant and then go to the Internet service provider and say we need those emails it's just them.
Deciding that that's the problem area according to them that they don't have to bring in the -- on the other hand the Internet service providers in most cases would say.
They will not hand over that information without a search warrant so.
It's not black and white but it's precisely the areas of -- that are of concern and -- what's the IRS thing IRS isn't saying anything right now we reached out to IRS officials they said they may send a statement later in the day about this but we have nothing.
As yet the ACLU meantime house put out a statement paraphrasing the work all of the attorney Nathan west -- saying quote.
The IRS should tell the public whether it always gets a warrant to access email.
And other private communications in the course of criminal investigations.
And if the agency does not get a warrant.
It should change its policy to always require -- one so in the view of the ACLU.
It is in fact black and white tell us whether you always gonna -- -- on not as simple as that.
All right Jonathan let's bring in the judge now Fox News senior judicial analyst attributable -- -- I was here.
I'm a little confused well I did Jonathan has accurately describe this -- it is very complex than he and I both read the regulations this afternoon and it's about three and a half inches thick single -- -- so you have to sort of zero went on what you're looking for so a couple of basics.
The IRS does not have the time or the inclination Willy Nilly to start reading people's emails we're talking about cases where the -- believes there's criminal fraud involved.
So these are criminal investigations and very very very tiny percentage.
May be involved in being investigated for crimes by the IRS.
What does the IRS is due in order to get information to build a case against these taxpayers.
It's supposed to use a search warrant.
But according to these regulations there are circumstances under which it can go to the service provider of computer company and say.
-- emails have been here for a 180 days they have they've been opened.
They haven't been deleted don't you think that this person doesn't care if anybody reads and that they wouldn't leave them there for a 180 days where you're employees can read them.
So we're gonna give -- a subpoena I'm authorizing my IRS colleague get.
To take these emails from now the person who put the emails there received it opened it didn't delete it.
May never know that these emails have been taken by the IRS.
Because they may not form the basis -- a criminal prosecution -- venerate and be used against this person.
And they'll just go on go on with their married life the only way this comes into play is if the IRS wants -- used in a court of law.
Then the IRS we'll have to explain to a judge how they got it and then the judge will say well how is that consistent with the Fourth Amendment.
You didn't come to me -- asked for a search warrant.
You just went and took.
There's so many more instances of elements of the government or authority figures in this country.
Well yes and do our stuff yes now eight out of our study we learned that we -- your stuff our stuff.
We learned earlier this week that the IRS is using the social media that's lawful.
If if I put something on my social media for anybody to look at who who logs on to -- The IRS can look at -- that's they don't go out to an IRS agent exactly exactly so and that's actually a prudent thing for the IRS to do.
But what the ACLU and my view quite properly wants to know is.
Are you following your own regulations which tell you how to get around the Fourth Amendment.
-- are you following the Fourth Amendment and the IRS says Jonathan indicated has not yet answered that question and a bit and hopefully they will.
Yes you know we know what happens next though anybody they suspected cheating they just -- them.
-- plenty of drones I don't think the terrorists won't return until it but they're they're colleagues in the -- Homeland Security do you get to being the operative word here if they want -- -- get everybody should have a drone.
-- -- Thank you you're welcome back for an.
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