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Mueller insists FBI can use Patriot Act powers without abusing them

[JURIST] FBI Director Robert Mueller [official profile] asserted Tuesday that the agency is able to properly use the surveillance powers granted it under the Patriot Act [JURIST news archive], telling senators at a US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] hearing [materials and witness testimony] that a compliance program has been implemented to police the use of National Security Letters (NSL) [CRS backgrounder, PDF]. Mueller insisted that the Patriot Act was not the cause of FBI abuses, however, committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website] told the director that the committee will "be re-examining the broad authorities we granted."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation [official website] illegally gathered data [JURIST report] from telephone and financial records of both US citizens and foreigners while searching for terrorists, according to a 130-page report [PDF text] issued by US DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine [official profile] earlier this month. Last week, Fine told [JURIST report] the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] that the confusion and abuse surrounding the use of NSLs was "unacceptable and inexcusable." AP has more.

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