06.16.10

Department Of Justice Inspector General To Fulfill Many Reporting Requirements In Leahy-Authored Patriot Reauthorization

WASHINGTON – Responding to a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine has agreed to conduct a review that fulfills many of the reporting requirements called for in the pending USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act.

Last year, Leahy introduced legislation to reauthorize expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.  A bipartisan majority of the Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in October, but the legislation was stalled on the floor.  In March, the Senate passed a temporary one-year extension of expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act.  Leahy wrote to Fine and Attorney General Holder in March, urging the Justice Department to implement key oversight and civil liberties protections included in the Committee-passed USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act.

In a letter sent to Leahy on June 15, Fine indicated that the Inspector General’s office has initiated a review that would accomplish much of the oversight called for by the reauthorization legislation, including a review of the use of National Security Letters (NSLs) between 2007 and 2009, and of the use of the new automated system to ensure that NSLs are generated properly.  The Inspector General will conduct a review of the use of section 215 orders for business records from 2007 and 2009.  And, for the first time, the Inspector General will review the FBI’s use of the pen register and trap-and-trace authority.

“The pending USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act includes many important privacy and civil liberties protections,” said Leahy.  “While the Senate has not acted on this legislation, it is clear that the Attorney General and Inspector General Fine are committed to responding to congressional oversight requests about the use of these national security authorities.  I appreciate Inspector General Fine’s responsiveness to this request, and I look forward to reviewing these reports when completed.”

A PDF of Inspector General Fine’s letter to Leahy is available online.  Leahy’s March letter to Holder is also available online.

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