Report FBI misused intel-gathering powers

March 13, 2008 at 5:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 13 (UPI) -- The FBI mishandled letters it used in 2006 to get personal records without a court order, a U.S. Justice Department report released Thursday said.

In reviewing FBI investigations conducted that year, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine found many privacy abuses by the bureau in its use of national security letters, which allowed the FBI to obtain personal information without judicial approval, The Washington Post reported.

"The FBI and Department of Justice have shown a commitment to addressing these problems," Fine said in a statement. But because several of the measures weren't fully implemented, "it is too early to determine whether these measures will eliminate the problems with the use of these authorities."

The Justice Department said Fine "correctly emphasizes the need for sustained oversight of the FBI's use of NSLs and concludes that the senior leadership of the Justice Department and the FBI are committed to addressing these issues and continue to devote significant energy, time, and resources to this effort."

The findings reflect similar findings Fine's office issued last year. Then, he concluded the FBI improperly used the letters to obtain telephone logs, banking records and other personal data from 2003 to 2005.

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