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Senate subcommittee to consider 'legislative response' to FBI's national security letter abuses
Mike Sheehan
Published: Tuesday April 10, 2007
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Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) will chair a hearing Wednesday on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's abuse of its national security letter authority, according to a press release sent to RAW STORY.

Feingold and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will consider a legislative response to findings by a key Justice Department official.

"Last month," the release states, "the Department of Justice Inspector General found 'widespread and serious misuse of the FBI's national security letter authorities.'"

The Justice official's report revealed that, among other things, the FBI violated federal provisions when its agents obtained telephone and financial records by using the administrative letters in lieu of a court order, as RAW STORY reported in March.

"Under the USA PATRIOT Act, which Feingold opposed, the FBI was granted dramatically expanded authority to issue NSLs," the release continues. "The hearing will consider appropriate congressional responses to the Inspector General report."

Among the witnesses to testify before the panel is Bob Barr, former Republican member of Congress and present chair of the group Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.