“We are pleased with the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) positive assessment of the many actions taken by the Justice Department and FBI to improve oversight of the use of National Security Letters (NSLs) since the first OIG review of NSLs was issued in March 2007.
“This year’s OIG report concluded that the Justice Department and FBI have made ‘significant progress’ in implementing the recommendations outlined in last year’s OIG report and have implemented measures that extend beyond those recommendations. Among other actions, the report highlights the creation of an Office of Integrity and Compliance at the FBI; the creation of a dedicated Oversight Section in the Office of Intelligence at the Justice Department’s National Security Division; as well as joint efforts by the Justice Department and FBI to launch and complete 15 national security reviews in FBI field offices and headquarters components in 2007.
“These innovations and corrective actions reflect a new level of oversight and an appreciation of the need for strong measures to improve compliance in our national security investigations. Because this year’s OIG report examined the use of NSLs in 2006 -- before deficiencies in the use of NSLs were first identified by the OIG and before the Justice Department and FBI began to take corrective actions -- it should come as no surprise that this year’s report found problems similar to those identified in the first OIG report, which covered the period 2003 through 2005. The Inspector General correctly emphasizes the need for sustained oversight of the FBI’s use of NSLs and concludes that the senior leadership of the Justice Department and the FBI are committed to addressing these issues and continue to devote significant energy, time, and resources to this effort.
“We appreciate the OIG’s continued recognition that NSLs are an indispensable investigative tool and have contributed significantly to many counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence investigations. The Justice Department is committed to using this critical tool in an appropriate manner that protects the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. We appreciate the diligent work of the OIG in completing this review.”