FBI Blames Phone Flap on Miscommunication
Ben Conery writes in The Washington Times:
The FBI's top lawyer said miscommunication - not malevolence - led the bureau in 2004 to improperly obtain the telephone records of newspaper reporters writing about Islamic terrorism in Indonesia.More here.
Valerie E. Caproni, the FBI's general counsel, told The Washington Times in an interview that her explanation was based on a preliminary review of e-mails sent among agents at the time.
It was the first time an FBI official described any circumstances surrounding the situation, though the explanation seems unlikely to sway critics.
A more definitive account of the situation is expected to be included in a forthcoming report from the Justice Department's Inspector General (IG) into the use of so-called "exigent letters."
The FBI used such letters to request telephone toll-billing records and subscriber information, but not the content of the calls. The letters sent to the phone companies simply stated the information was being requested because of an emergency.
"Exigent letters" are similar to the controversial National Security Letters (NSLs), which allow agents to gather certain information without normal judicial oversight.