Judiary Committee Hearing on FBI Use of National Security Letters

March 20, 2007
Right now the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers (MI-14), is holding a hearing on the Inspector General's Independent Report on the FBI's use of National Security Letters. It is being webcast live on the Committee's web site, and aired on C-Span 3.

Frequent Errors In FBI's Secret Records Requests

John Solomon and Barton Gellman, Washington Post - March 9, 2007

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.

Officials said they could not be sure of the scope of the violations but suggested they could be more widespread, though not deliberate. In nearly a quarter of the case files Inspector General Glenn A. Fine reviewed, he found previously unreported potential violations.

UPDATE: Full Committee Chairman John Conyers' opening remarks:

Chairman John Conyers:

"To underscore the importance of the reasons that we're having these hearings, many of us remember the times in the past when the power of our government has been abused..."

Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-08), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, gives his opening remarks:

Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Nadler:

"Some of us have predicted that the unrestricted authority the FBI to issue NSL's would be abused, and unfortunately our worst fears have now been realized."