Alberto Gonzales

AG Overlooked Reported Violations

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified two years ago that the FBI had not abused its investigative powers under the USA Patriot Act even though he had received several reports of improper surveillance by the agency, the Washington Post reports.

Gonzales had received at least six reports of procedural or legal violations in the three months before his Senate intelligence testimony, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI reports mentioned improper surveillance, an illegal property search, and mistaken collection of unauthorized Internet data.

It was not known if Gonzales read the reports. A Justice Department spokesman told the Post that Gonzales was speaking about findings by the department’s inspector general that there had been no misconduct or civil liberties abuses related to the law.

Most of the violations concerned procedural safeguards or even typographical errors, said spokesman Brian Roehrkasse. “The statements from the attorney general are consistent with statements from other officials at the FBI and the department,” he said.

The documents were uncovered in a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “I think these documents raise some very serious questions about how much the attorney general knew about the FBI’s misuse of surveillance powers and when he knew it,” said foundation lawyer Marcia Hofmann.

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