Money Laundering, Terrorism and Financial Institutions - USA Patriot Act Monitor

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3/16/2007 Inspector General Faults FBI’s Use of National Security Letters

In A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Use of National Security Letters, the Department of Justice Inspector General found that the FBI used National Security Letters in manners that violated statutory limitations, Attorney General Guidelines, and internal FBI policies, sometimes obtaining information to which it was not entitled, though in most cases the agency could have found the information through properly executed National Security Letters or by other means. The IG found that 60% of investigative files examined contained one or more violations of FBI internal control policies, but because the FBI has no policy requiring the retention of signed copies of National Security Letters, the IG was unable to conduct a comprehensive audit of compliance issues. One matter analyzed in the IG’s report concerned whether Federal Reserve banks were financial institutions under the Right to Financial Privacy act, and what was the appropriate means for the FBI to obtain Fedwire records from them. The report will be discussed at length in the May issue of the USA Patriot Act Monitor.

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