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Department of Justice Actions on FBI Use of National Security Letters
WASHINGTON – The Attorney General commends the work of the Inspector General
(IG) in uncovering serious problems in the FBI's use of National Security
Letters (NSLs). The Attorney General has told the Director of the FBI that
such mistakes will not be tolerated and has ordered the FBI and the Department
to restore accountability and to put in place safeguards to ensure greater
oversight and controls over the use of national security letters. The following
are some of the actions directed by the Attorney General:
- The FBI Inspection Division will investigate the FBI's use of NSLs to
determine management accountability.
- Although there has been no allegation of misconduct by FBI lawyers, the
Attorney General asked the Associate Deputy Attorney General and the Office of
Professional Responsibility to review the Inspector General's report and
examine the role that the FBI lawyers played in the FBI's use of NSLs and
- The FBI has instituted new procedures to improve the handling of NSL
records and increase training on the proper use of these letters.
- The Attorney General has directed the Justice Department's National
Security Division (NSD) and Privacy and Civil Liberties Office to work with the
FBI in implementing corrective actions, consider any further review and reforms
that are needed, and to report to the Attorney General regularly on the
- The Attorney General has directed the NSD to begin oversight and auditing
of the FBI's use of NSLs. The NSD, in conjunction with the FBI's inspection
division, will conduct reviews of the use of NSLs in FBI headquarters and field
offices. Any identified violations of law or guidelines will be reported to
appropriate oversight authorities. This is a new level of oversight by
Department of Justice lawyers with years of experience in intelligence and law
- The Attorney General has ordered that briefings on the IG's report be
given to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Privacy and
Civil Liberties Oversight Board, Congress, and key advocacy groups. Many of
these briefings have already occurred.
- The Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
have established the NSL Data Retention Working Group, which is looking at how
the Department retains the information it acquires.
- The Attorney General has directed the Department's legislative staff to
review and revise as necessary the Department's responses to Congressional
- The Attorney General has asked the Inspector General to report to him in
four months on the FBI's implementation of the report's recommendations.
The Attorney General's Letter to the Inspector General