FBI Sought Info on Thousands Of U.S. Citizens Without Court OK
An AP newswire article by Mark Sherman, via Yahoo! News, reports that:
The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday.More here.
It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge's approval or a grand jury subpoena.
Friday's disclosure was mandated as part of the renewal of the Patriot Act, the administration's sweeping anti-terror law.
The FBI delivered a total of 9,254 NSLs relating to 3,501 people in 2005, according to a report submitted late Friday to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. In some cases, the bureau demanded information about one person from several companies.