WASHINGTON – Previously classified documents being released Monday show numerous misuses of FBI surveillance, including improper searches and seizures of e-mails and bank records, The Washington Post reported in Monday's editions.
The documents, which were turned over under a Freedom of Information Act (search) lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, show that FBI auditors have investigated hundreds of potential violations related to the agency's domestic surveillance since Sept. 11, 2001, the Post said.
Some of the violations found in the documents included:
—FBI agents failing to file annual updates on ongoing surveillance, as required by Justice Department guidelines.
—A violation of bank privacy statutes.
—An improper physical search.
—Improper collection of e-mails after warrants had expired.
David Sobel (search), EPIC's general counsel, told the Post: "We're seeing what might be the tip of the iceberg at the FBI and across the intelligence community. It indicates that the existing mechanisms do not appear adequate to prevent abuses or to ensure the public that abuses that are identified are treated seriously and remedied."
But FBI officials told the Post that most of the violations were simply administrative errors.
"The FBI and the people who work in the FBI are very cognizant of the fact that people are watching us to make sure we're doing the right thing," an anonymous FBI official told the Post.