U.S. Justice Department says FBI misused Patriot Act

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Friday, March 9, 2007

The United States Justice Department has concluded an inquest into the FBI's use of the Patriot Act saying that the FBI had been, in some cases, misusing the Patriot Act, sometimes illegally.

Cquote1.svg We believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities Cquote2.svg

A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of National Security Letters

Such misuses include ordering the handover of personal information without just cause and looking at the telephone records of Americans during the period of a non-emergency, Inspector General Glenn A. Fine's 126 page report said.

The FBI sent National Security Letters or "NSLs" to Americans asking for personal information, without getting a warrant or court order, but the FBI failed to report at least 22% of letters that were sent out.

As many as 56,000 requests per year for personal information on people have been made since 2001 when the Patriot Act was signed.

"We believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities", said the inquest.

Robert Mueller the director of the FBI, says that he is responsible for not taking better measures to prevent the violations.

"I am to be held accountable. The inspector general went and did the audit that I should have put in place many years ago. While we've already taken some steps to address these shortcomings. I am ordering additional corrective measures to be taken immediately," said Mueller who also stated that he has no plans to hand in his resignation.

Mueller also said that 90% of the letters sent out were used in an attempt to track down terrorists who were located in different countries around the world.

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