September 28, 2009
DOJ OIG Testimony on Reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act
"Our reports recognized the significant challenges the FBI faced and the major organizational changes it was undergoing during our review period. Nevertheless, we concluded that the FBI engaged in serious misuse of NSL [national security letters] authorities. For example, from 2003 to 2005 the FBI identified 26 possible intelligence violations involving its use of NSLs. The possible violations included issuing NSLs without proper authorization and making improper requests under the statutes cited in the NSLs. However, in addition to the possible violations reported by the FBI, we conducted an independent review of FBI case files in four field offices to determine if there were unreported violations of NSL authorities, Attorney General Guidelines, or internal FBI policies governing the approval and use of NSLs. Our review of 293 national security letters in 77 files found 22 possible violations that had not been identified or reported by the FBI. The violations we found fell into three categories: improper authorization for the NSL, improper requests under the pertinent national security letter statutes, and unauthorized collections."