FBI eavesdropping violations reported

Twice a year, the Department of Justice Inspector General reports on problems related to the Patriot Act, and one of the problems he reported on was the Federal Bureau of Investigation committing over 100 possible eavesdropping violations.

The report found 108 “possible errors” in FBI’s conducting wiretaps which were forwarded to the Intelligence Oversight Board, and the FBI was quick to point out that none of them involved willful misconduct, and that “when possible violations are discovered, the FBI acts quickly to correct the error,” according to a statement.

The violations, for the most part, involved training problems, technical errors or mistakes made by third parties, according to the report.

In one case, the FBI obtained the contents of 181 telephone calls rather than just the billing records to which it was entitled. In another, a communication was monitored for more than a year after eavesdropping should have ended — although investigators blamed a third-party provider for the mix-up.

The findings were part of a semiannual report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine on problems related to the USA Patriot Act, the broad anti-terrorism law that is scheduled to be renewed today with President Bush’s signature.

The report confirmed that Fine’s office is investigating a broad range of issues related to the government’s anti-terrorism efforts. They include investigations of the FBI’s role at military detention facilities in Iraq, in Cuba and elsewhere; the bureau’s use of National Security Letters; and the FBI’s treatment of antiwar protesters. — Washington Post

Out of hundreds of Patriot Act related complaints filed just in the last six months of 2005, only four investigations were opened.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (Mich.), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said Fine’s report “is yet another vindication for those of us who have raised concerns about the administration’s policies in the war on terror.”

“Despite the Bush administration’s attempt to demonize critics of its anti-terrorism policies as advancing phantom or trivial concerns, the report demonstrates that the independent Office of Inspector General has found that many of these policies indeed warrant full investigations,” Conyers said. — Ibid.

There’s much more; so go read the whole thing for all the details.

We first brought you this story in October: FBI intelligence improprieties revealed.