Monday, April 02, 2007

No excuse for ignorance of the law

Is it just me, or does it make one just a tiny bit nervous that FBI Director Robert Mueller, the man who keeps assuring Congress he's on top of correcting his agency's recent abuses of the USA Patriot Act, doesn't even know what the act says?

According to an AP story, Mueller said the following at Senate hearing about national security letters:

"I would give up NSLs for administrative subpoenas.... We do not have an enforcement mechanism for national security letters."

Oops. Turns out that the FBI actually does have that power already, thanks to the reauthorization of the Patriot Act a year ago.

I really can't say it better than the first paragraph of the same AP story:

FBI Director Robert Mueller blames poor training and supervision for the bureau's Patriot Act abuses and promises new training programs. He might want to sign up for the first class himself.


Sara in Philly

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

This reminds me of the NSA chief who claimed that everyone at NSA takes the constitution seriously and has it memorized. Then he stated that "probable cause" was NOT the constitutional standard!

Amendment IV: "...and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..."

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Keanus said...

I don't recall the exact words from Mueller, but at the hearings last week he basically admitted that the FBI had made mistakes in handling national security letters, but that Congress shouldn't use that as an excuse to take away the power, since Mueller would see to it that they got it right next time. In my eyes that's an argument for making the FBI seek court approval of all, and I mean all, subpeonas. The whole point of restraints on the government is to insure that they comply with the law. And the point of court approved subpeonas is to give the courts the power to prevent abuse. It may be a bureaucratic hassle, but two heads, independent of each other, are much less likely to abuse that power. Mr. Mueller and his staff need some classes in constitutional law and the need for limits to power in government.

8:56 PM  

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