Shorter FBI Director Mueller: Yeah, We Lie and Break the Law Routinely, But Trust Us Anyway

Brian Zick

John Solomon and Barton Gellman for WaPo report that the FBI has been routinely breaking the law using phone companies for spying: A Justice Department investigation has found pervasive errors in the FBI's use of its power to secretly demand telephone, e-mail and financial records in national security cases, officials with access to the report said yesterday. The inspector general's audit found 22 possible breaches of internal FBI and Justice Department regulations -- some of which were potential violations of law -- in a sampling of 293 "national security letters." The letters were used by the FBI to obtain the personal records of U.S. residents or visitors between 2003 and 2005. The FBI identified 26 potential violations in other cases. John at AMERICAblog reports on FBI Director Mueller's press conference about the revelations of FBI malfeasance. Mueller is quoted: "After September 11, the practice grew up whereby we would provide to these carriers a letter saying that indeed we needed particular information because of the exigent nature of the investigation and that a grand jury subpoena would follow. In a substantial number of these cases the inspector general found that there were not necessarily exigent circumstances and that grand jury subpoenas had not followed. And while we were entitled to that information, we were utilizing the wrong vehicle to obtain that information. I should make it clear that communications companies were absolutely entitled to rely on our representation in providing those materials."

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