Former FBI official questioned on role in abuse of intelligence-gathering tools
Source: Washington Post
A senior Republican lawmaker is probing allegations that the former general counsel of the FBI bore greater responsibility for abuses of surveillance authorities than previously known.
The former official, Valerie E. Caproni, left the FBI in 2011 and has been nominated by President Obama to a be a judge in the Southern District of New York.
As general counsel, Caproni and her office had legal oversight over the bureauís use of intelligence-gathering tools called national security letters, or NSLs, and exigent letters, both of which were used to obtain phone call and e-mail records of U.S. citizens and residents without a court sign-off.
In a series of often critical reports from 2007 to 2010, the Justice Departmentís Office of the Inspector General pointed out lapses in the bureauís use of these tools. The reports show that FBI agents over a three-year period ending in 2005 served more than 140,000 national security letters on companies without retaining evidence that the data collection was legal, without ensuring that the data was relevant to government needs and without correctly reporting efforts to Congress.
In a Jan. 17 letter to the current inspector general, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had ďreceived an allegation that Ms. Caproniís actions regarding the NSL program were criticized in initial versions of the reports that were subsequently modified in the final publication.Ē