Friday, March 09, 2007

FBI 'Lost Track' of Patriot Act Requests

From the Associated Press:
WASHINGTON - An internal Justice Department report accuses the FBI of underreporting its use of the Patriot Act to force telecommunications and financial firms to turn over customer information in suspected terrorism cases, according to officials familiar with its findings.

Shoddy bookkeeping and records management led to the problems, said one government official familiar with the report. The official said FBI agents appeared to be overwhelmed by the volume of demands for information over a two-year period.
Unacceptable. The Patriot Act grants the FBI wider powers to protect the nation against terrorism, but it's not a blank check.

While AP reports that the omissions appear to be inadvertent and non-criminal, FBI record-keeping must be precise and complete; they must not carelessly give America's domestic political enemies ammunition for shameless grandstanding and distortion.