Over 1100 pages of newly released documents pertaining to the FBI’s misuse of National Security Letters (NSLs) have been made available by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The documents were released July 5, pursuant to court order, after the EFF sued the federal government for failure to respond to its FOIA request seeking the documents. Other responsive documents are to be released on a 30 day cycle.
According to the EFF’s press release, the documents
show years of chronic problems with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of National Security Letters (NSLs) to collect Americans’ personal information and that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has long been aware of these problems. The documents were disclosed after EFF sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) earlier this year for records related to a scathing Justice Department critique of FBI NSL activity. The records detail more than 40 instances of improper, unauthorized collection of information about individuals, including unlawful access to phone records and email. The records show that Gonzales himself was sent several of these problem reports, including one less than a week before he told a congressional committee that no civil liberties abuses have resulted from the USA PATRIOT Act. He also voiced surprise when the Justice Department report on NSL misuse was made public earlier this year.