FBI Records Show Gonzales Knew About Years of Chronic NSL Problems

EFF Lawsuit Uncovers History of Surveillance Mistakes

Washington, D.C. - Documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 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.

More abuse from what was created in the Patriot Act. FBI abusing National Security Letters to collect and monitor US citizens. Attorney General Gonzales knowing about it and not revealing or admitting the problem even existed. There doesn't seem to be a real patriots in the top ranks of the government these days. I am glad someone is standing up to them and suing them for these sorts of documents and letting the American people know the truth about what is going on. Our freedoms are being eroded by the threats against national security, which is clearly being abused. The founding fathers didn't put such loopholes and create such legislation because the minute we start restricting ourselves and losing our freedoms they have won. The world ISN'T a safe place. But just because we feel insecure sometimes doesn't mean we should throw out the very ideals we used to think were so great. Everyone has a right to privacy and should be able to trust their government isn't illegally monitoring them for crimes or suspected crimes they aren't involved in. Clearly, we've lost some ground from that ideal, we need to get it back and the first step is exposing it.

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