national security letter

The Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) recently issued a 199-page report detailing the FBI’s use, and abuse, of national security letters (“NSLs”) to obtain information in the name of national security. The report cites repeated failures by the FBI to follow even the abbreviated procedures available under the current NSL regime for seeking customer and consumer records from communications providers, financial institutions, and credit agencies. The report reveals that the FBI’s failure both to provide consistent guidance regarding NSLs and adhere to internal oversight procedures has led to problems ranging from minor technical deficiencies in NSLs to the issuance of NSLs without proper authorization.