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The First Step Is Admitting You Have a Problem

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March 18, 2008

Last night, Mike German, Policy Counsel at our Washington Legislative Office, blogged on our DailyKos Diary about Thursday’s release of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s misuse and abuse of National Security Letters (NSL). Mike discusses the First Amendment implications of this abuse, and describes how the DOJ office charged with oversight of the FBI’s NSL use felt bullied by agents trying to get around constitutional safeguards. Mike writes:

Recognizing how the FBI subverts internal controls is important because after the last IG audit the FBI and DoJ issued new guidelines and policies they claim will fix the problems with the FBI’s use of its Patriot Act powers. But you can’t fix problems you don’t admit you have.

In related NSL news, last week we asked a federal appeals court to uphold Judge Victor Marrero’s decision that struck down the NSL provision of the Patriot Act. Judge Marrero of the Southern District of New York ruled NSLs violate the First Amendment and directly subvert the constitutional separation of powers.

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