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FBI Expands Personal Information Searches with "Security" Letters

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  1. Freedom of Information
· Story link

· Story link

The FBI is serving more than 30,000 national security letters a year, allowing it to collect personal information about customers and patrons from banks, phone and credit card companies, and libraries while gagging those sources from telling anyone their records have been searched. The Washington Post reported that’s 100 times as many as were issued prior to adoption of the Patriot Act. The letters can be authorized by a dozen or so officials at FBI headquarters and the agency’s field supervisors and do not need to be cleared by either judge or grand jury. The Post also reported that because of an attorney general’s directive, the data gathered is going into a database that is shared with other government agencies rather than being discarded if the investigation shows no wrongdoing. (11/7/05)