Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2008

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Response to DOJ Inspector General’s Review of FBI’s Use of National Security Letters & Corrective Actions

Today the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report “A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006.” In addition to a review of NSL usage in 2006, the report represents the first assessment of the FBI’s corrective actions since the issuance of the initial March 2007 report on the use of national security letters. In response, FBI Assistant Director John Miller made the following statement:

“We are pleased that the Inspector General (IG) found that the FBI has committed significant time and resources and has made significant progress toward correcting the deficiencies identified during last year’s review. Not surprisingly, the errors discovered by the IG in connection with NSLs served during 2006 are similar to those discovered during the 2003-2005 review period. The FBI’s extensive corrective actions began after the Inspector General brought these issues to our attention in the report published in 2007.

“After last year’s OIG report, we conducted an extensive, nationwide internal review of our use of National Security Letters to better determine the scope and nature of our compliance problems. We also began to implement a comprehensive series of actions designed to ensure that the compliance problems the IG had identified and we had confirmed would not recur. For example, with input from Congress and after collaborating with privacy and civil liberties groups, we consolidated field-wide policy and guidance governing the use of NSLs. The revised guidance mandated that all NSLs must be reviewed by an attorney prior to issuance and clearly defined other roles and responsibilities regarding NSLs. We put into place a new automated system to minimize errors and to improve Congressional reporting, and we vastly increased training regarding NSLs for FBI employees. Working with DOJ, we instituted a systematic review process for FBI national security investigations. We created the Office of Integrity and Compliance, which is modeled after private sector compliance programs and is believed to be a first for a federal agency.

“With respect to third party errors, which were the single largest category of NSL-related errors discovered during the IG’s and the FBI’s audits: measures have been put in place to reduce the likelihood of such errors and to ensure that any over-produced data is recognized and treated appropriately. Many of our corrective actions go beyond, or are in addition to, what the OIG recommended.

“But despite the low error rate attributed to the FBI, we continue to strive for zero errors, and we believe that the measures we have put in place will help ensure that. We fully realize, as does the Inspector General, the indispensable value of these investigative tools. We are committed to using them in ways that maximize their national security value while providing the highest level of privacy and protection of the civil liberties of those we are sworn to protect.”

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