Ever wonder how the law adapts to technology that makes it harder or easier for police to search and seize suspected criminals? Orin Kerr posits that an Equilibrium-adjustment exists. "Courts respond to the new facts by trying to restore the old level of protection. If a new technology or practice increased government power, courts ratchet up Fourth Amendment...
A Review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Use of Exigent Letters and Other Informal Requests for Telephone Records
"This report is divided into six chapters. Chapter Two describes in detail the circumstances in which the FBI used exigent letters and other informal requests to obtain telephone records from the three on-site communications service providers. This chapter also contains our analysis of each of these methods for obtaining telephone records and other calling activity information.
Chapter Three contains additional findings and analysis concerning how the use of exigent letters and other informal requests led to additional improper practices, including the acquisition of calling activity information regarding 'hot numbers' without legal process; improper [sic] and acquisition of reporters' and news organizations' telephone toll billing records and other calling activity information; inaccurate statements to the FISA Court about the source of subscriber and calling activity information supporting applications for FISA Court pen register/trap and trace and electronic surveillance orders; and the improper use of FBI administrative subpoenas to cover records acquired from exigent letters or other informal requests.
Chapter Four contains our findings and analysis regarding the various corrective actions attempted by the FBI to address the use of exigent letters, including the issuance of 11 improper blanket NSLs. This chapter also describes steps taken by the FBI after the OIG's first NSL report was issued in March 2007 to address the use of exigent letters and other informal requests for telephone records. This chapter also contains our findings on the FBI's analysis of whether it will retain telephone records it acquired after issuing exigent letters or that were listed in the 11 blanket NSLs.
Chapter Five examines the FBI's management failures that led to these improper practices. It also evaluates the actions of individual FBI employees, including the CAU personnel who signed exigent letters; the CAU Unit Chiefs who supervised the unit; the senior CTD officials who signed 11 improper blanket NSLs; and attorneys in the FBI's Office of the General Counsel who provided legal advice relating to the exigent letters. In addition, this chapter examines the conduct of FBI and Department personnel who sought or acquired reporters' telephone toll billing records or other calling activity information without proper authority or approvals.
Chapter Six contains our conclusions and recommendations.
The appendix to the report provides examples of exigent letters signed by CAU personnel."
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