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January 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

FBI Agents Obtained Phone Records Using “Startling” and Highly Questionable Methods, Inspector Gen. Report Finds

The upside of this is that the Inspector General for the Justice Department has reviewed this weighty matter and exposed it in a report. Also, the good news is that the FBI says it has stopped this shoddy practice, which also targeted reporters’ phones. In fact, the report says: “Some of the most troubling improper requests for telephone records occurred in media leak cases, where the FBI sought and acquired reporters’ telephone toll billing records.”

To read full report click here.

Read FBI Response click here.


By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — FBI agents seeking telephone records demanded information from phone companies in a variety of “startling” and illicit methods, including e-mail and post-it notes, in an “egregious breakdown” of safeguards and oversight, the Justice Department’s inspector general reported Wednesday.

The long-awaited investigative report describes numerous lapses by FBI agents seeking material through more than 700 emergency letters to phone service providers between 2002 and 2006, many of which did not involve real urgency, officials said.

One FBI agent interviewed in connection with the probe said the process became so casual that “it [was] like having an ATM in your living room,” according to the report.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, told lawmakers that the process had ended in 2006 and that officials were reviewing the report to determine whether any bureau employees should be disciplined for the lapses. Mueller pointed out that the phone records did not cover the content of calls but rather toll information.

For Full story

FBI issued a reponse that said:

The FBI ceased this practice in 2006 and was never involved in obtaining the content of telephone conversations.

“The OIG report finds no intentional attempts to obtain records that counterterrorism personnel knew they were not legally entitled to obtain,” said Michael P. Kortan, the FBI’s Assistant Director for Public Affairs. “No FBI employee obtained telephone records for reasons other than a legitimate investigative interest. FBI employees involved in this matter obtained the telephone records at issue to perform their critical mission to prevent a terrorist attack or otherwise to support a counterterrorism investigation.”

To read full statement click here.

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