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Thursday, March 08, 2007

FBI Oversteps With Patriot Act?

This is another Shame of America post, like it or not. It seems that the FBI has been underreporting it's use of the Patriot Act in order to force businesses to turn over records of their customers in a terrorist investigation. While the Patriot Act does appear to give such agencies broad scope in what they can do, it was obviously not enough for the FBI. Why not? They can practically do what they want now. Yet, that didn't do it for them. They had to go beyond that, allegedly.

The article states that a report from the Justice Dept., due out Friday, is blistering in it's assessment of the FBI's actions. In addition to forcing businesses to work with them, they were telling telecommunications companies that they would follow-up on this but never did.

Apparently, the FBI is allowed to send out national security letters in terrorism cases that do not have to have approval by a judge. These letters require businesses, telephone companies, credit bureaus, banks, internet service providers to provide very personal information about subscribers and customers.

I don't know about you but I do not feel that they should have the right to do this without approval of some judge somewhere. Of course, having seen what judges do, it is likely irrelevant anyway but it would be nice if they simply did not have all that power without some type of checks and balances.

FBI Oversteps With Patriot Act?

WASHINGTON (AP) - A blistering Justice Department report accuses the FBI of underreporting its use of the Patriot Act to force businesses to turn over customer information in terrorism cases, according to officials familiar with its findings.

The report, to be released Friday, also says the FBI failed to send follow-up subpoenas to telecommunications firms that were told to expect them, according to several government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report by the Justice Department's inspector general had not yet been released.

Overall, the FBI underreported the number of national security letters it issued by about 20 percent between 2003 and 2005, the officials said. In 2005 alone, the FBI delivered a total of 9,254 letters relating to 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents.