March 9, 2007
According to a new audit the FBI improperly and in some cases illegally used the Patriot Act to obtain personal information about people in the United States.
The report went on to say that the FBI has also under reported to Congress how often it forced businesses to turn over customer data.
Justice Department Inspector Glenn Fine authored the 126 page report and found that the FBI improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances. Agent error and bad record keeping is to blame for most of the problems.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says that there's no excuse for the mistakes made by the FBI. He says that his department is going to fix things as quickly as possible and has left open the possibility of pursuing criminal charges against FBI agents or lawyers who illegally used the act.
FBI Director Robert Mueller called the report fair and objective and that the FBI's deficiencies were unacceptable. He says he would hold himself accountable but does not plan on resigning. The American Civil Liberties Union wants the act to be amended to require judicial approval anytime the FBI wants access to sensitive personal information.
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