FBI Confirms More Privacy Abuses in National Security Letters

The AP reports:

The FBI acknowledged Wednesday it improperly accessed Americans' telephone records, credit reports and Internet traffic in 2006, the fourth straight year of privacy abuses resulting from investigations aimed at tracking terrorists and spies.

....[The breach was] caused, in part, by banks, telecommunication companies and other private businesses giving the FBI more personal client data than was requested.

Details will be forthcoming in a report by the Justice Department Inspector General. [More...]

An audit by the inspector general last year found the FBI demanded personal records without official authorization or otherwise collected more data than allowed in dozens of cases between 2003 and 2005. Additionally, last year's audit found that the FBI had underreported to Congress how many national security letters were requested by more than 4,600.

The new audit, which examines use of national security letters issued in 2006, "will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March," Mueller told senators. The privacy abuse "predates the reforms we now have in place," he said.

On national security letters:

National security letters, as outlined in the USA Patriot Act, are administrative subpoenas used in suspected terrorism and espionage cases. They allow the FBI to require telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses to produce highly personal records about their customers or subscribers without a judge's approval.

More on the abuse of national security letters is here.

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    And yet the House is teetering (none / 0) (#1)
    by litigatormom on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:56:04 PM EST
    on the edge of capitulation to Bush on FISA and telecom immunity.

    Our grandchildren are going to wonder why we let them be born into a totalitarian state.

    Fighting for (none / 0) (#2)
    by PlayInPeoria on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:03:31 PM EST
    our rights seems to be old fashion ... maybe we should CHANGE BACK to that. I sure miss those sit in!!

    Clearly the FBI Just Needs More Money (none / 0) (#3)
    by BDB on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:03:51 PM EST
    That's a joke, btw, a common one about the FBI who seems to be able to turn any screw up into a bigger budget.  And I admit it's told more out of jealousy than anything else.

    My understanding is that... (none / 0) (#4)
    by fiver5 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:29:11 PM EST
    violating civil rights under colour of law is not only actionable, it is also a crime.  Do these reports in any way obligate Justice to prosecute?  Do they trigger any type of affirmative obligation on the investigating attorneys to report those violators with law licenses to the appropriate state Bar?

    thanx again (none / 0) (#5)
    by sef on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:39:14 PM EST

    Thanks for this post in the middle of all the high comment posts.  One of the things I was really concerned about when BTD was brought on board (and I'm not a fan & I suspect it's mutual) was that we would go all dem politics all day.  But I love how you've been mixing up the politics of the left with the politics of crime forcing readers to see both no matter whether they came here for law talk or politics.  The mix, esp since mid-Feb has been great (and infuriating as I get suckered in to responding to posts I really shouldn't).