Unresolved Questions from the Judiciary Committee
Hearing on FBI Use of National Security Letters

Posted on by Jesse Lee

The hearing has now concluded, and two questions raised by Reps. Adam Schiff (CA-29) and Artur Davis (AL-07) remain unresolved. Rep. Schiff questioned Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department inspector general, and FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni on “blanket NSL’s,” which were apparently used in an attempt to “authorize many of the requests retroactively.” He also questioned them on internal complaints about the process. Rep. Davis followed up Rep. Schiff’s questioning on internal complaints, especially those reported by the New York Times as coming from Bassem Youssef, who was in charge of the bureau's Communications Analysis Unit: “Almost two years before the Federal Bureau of Investigation publicly admitted this month that it had ignored its own rules when demanding telephone and financial records about private citizens, a top official in that program warned the bureau about widespread lapses, his lawyer said on Sunday.”

Rep. Adam Schiff:
“Inspector General Fine, you said that you didn’t find that any of the violations were deliberate or intentional, and yet you also report the issuance of “blanket NSL’s” which to me appear to be an effort to cover up what was recognized to be flawed issuances of these exigent letters. Given that NSL letters are supposed to be case-specific, the NSL’s were a blanket violation of the law weren’t they?”
Rep. Artur Davis:
“Mr. Fine, how is it possible that you did not review the fact that the former head of the unit raised questions about the misuse of NSL’s, how is it remotely possible that was not reviewed?”
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