WASHINGTON (UCs News) — The FBI has been found guilty of “serious misuse” of the power while secretly obtaining private information under the Patriot Act. A government audit said Friday, “The FBI has abused provisions of the Patriot act as it expanded it’s domestic spying program. Well that didn’t take long, just months after the Patriot Act’s reauthorization and expansion it’s being abused.
The Justice Department’s inspector general looked at the FBI’s use of national security letters, in which agents demand personal and business information without court orders.The audit found the letters were issued without proper authority, cited incorrect statutes or obtained information they weren’t supposed to.
As many as 22 percent of national security letters were not recorded, the audit said.
“We concluded that many of the problems we identified constituted serious misuse of the FBI’s national security letter authorities,” Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said in the report. The audit said there were many indications that the FBI’s use of the letters “constituted criminal misconduct.”
Critics have long slammed many of the Patriot Act’s provisions for intruding on civil liberties. The American Civil Liberties Union called on Congress to “act immediately to repeal these most dangerous Patriot Act provisions.”
The audit found that in 2004 and 2005, more than half of the targets of the national security letters were U.S. citizens.