a katz / Shutterstock.com

A Rare Peek Inside the FBI's Internal Video-Streaming Service

On-demand offerings from FBI.tv include "Active Shooter—Managing the Mass Casualty Threat," "Advancements in Maritime Intelligence" and "Bullying in the Workplace."

Internal FBI documents released last week provide an intriguing peek at its private intranet for agents and other personnel.

The system—called BU|NET, an apparent portmanteau of “bureau” and “network”—includes FBI.tv, a homegrown YouTube channel of sorts that includes live commercial programming (Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, and the Department of Justice’s in-house legal training network, Justice Television) as well as on-demand offerings like “Active Shooter–Managing the Mass Casualty Threat,” “Advancements in Maritime Intelligence,” “Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation,” and the admittedly unexpected “Bullying in the Workplace.”

The documents were obtained by Russ Kick, a researcher and writer who runs AltGov2.org, an online repository of declassified files he has successfully pried loose through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). He learned about FBI.tv only from a tranche of screenshots of the BUNET homepage he received in February.

It took Kick a little over six months to get the first set of documents and seven-and-a-half months to get the FBI TV listings.

“In the world of FOIA, those are fairly decent response times,” Kick told Quartz. “I run on FOIA time now, so I guess anything under a year seems fast.”

Kick, whose site is completely supported by donations, said he didn’t have to negotiate or appeal to get what he ultimately received. However, the records are incomplete. Kick asked for color screenshots of all pages that are linked from the main page. The bureau sent blurry, pixelated black-and-white printouts of 11 of the 28 pages that fit that description. His appeal is currently winding its way through the system for the remaining 17.

Beyond FBI.tv, BU|NET also offers:

  • Management tips ”At the recent Counterterrorism Division all-hands, best-selling author Dan Pink told attendees that to be engaged and motivated, employees need autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and not to be managed solely with rewards and punishments.”
  • Q&As ”15 Minutes With [REDACTED] Endangered Child Alert Program.”
  • Memories of former employees who have passed on ”Remembering Dolce the K9,” by [REDACTED], photos by [REDACTED] OPA & [REDACTED] Memphis Division. Three of the seven pictures of Dolce, who was 13 when he died last year, are redacted. ”I’m going to chalk it up to overzealousness with the redaction tool,” said Kick. “But it is hard to understand—things you think would get redacted sometimes don’t, while things that shouldn’t get redacted do.”

A screenshot of the FBI’s BUNET system (courtesy Russ Kick)

Overall, Kick said he was surprised with how few redactions the BUNET menus contained. Some of the systems and applications in the “Resources” menu are previously unknown outside the FBI, such as “Datapointer,” “DownDraft,” and something called “TSLift.” Kick has submitted filings in an attempt to find out more about those three programs, and also has follow-up requests in progress for the “Surveillance” page and multiple “Employee E-Briefs.”

“One of the most stunning non-redactions I’ve ever gotten is the manual that the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community uses to perform audits on intelligence agencies,” said Kick. “I was sure it was going to look like Swiss cheese, but there isn’t one bit of redaction in the entire 148 pages. I still wonder if they meant to send it to me like that.”

On the other side of the coin, John Greenewald Jr. of reader-supported FOIA clearinghouse The Black Vault told Quartz, “I’ve been waiting a couple of years for documents from the CIA on mind control. I went after some NSA files on Mother Teresa that were denied; I refiled last year and got them, but everything was blacked out. Mother Teresa. What are they hiding?”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.