FBI Oversight in the 107th Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee: FISA Implementation Failures   [open pdf - 8MB]

This is an Interim report by Senators Patrick Leahy, Charles Grassley and Arlen Specter. "This report is focused on our FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] oversight for three reasons. First, the FISA is the law governing the exercise of the DOJ's [Department of Justice] and FBI's [Federal Bureau of Investigation] surveillance powers inside the United States to collect foreign intelligence information in the fight against terrorism and, as such, is vitally important to our national security. Second, the concerns revealed by our FISA oversight highlight the more systemic problems facing the FBI and the importance of close congressional oversight and scrutiny in helping to provide the resources and attention to correct such problems before they worsen. Third, members of this Committee led the effort to amend key provisions of the FISA in the USA PATRIOT Act, and the sunset or tennination of those amendments in four years makes it imperative that the Committee carefully monitor how the FISA changes are being implemented. This report is in no way intended to be a comprehensive study of what did, or did not, 'go wrong' before the 9/11. attacks. That important work was commenced by the Joint Intelligence Committee in the 107th Congress and will be continued by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks (the '9/11 Commission') established by an act of Congress at the end of the last session. The focus of this report is different than these other important inquiries. We have not attempted to analyze each and every piece of intelligence or the performance of each and every member of the Intelligence Community prior to the 9/11 attacks. Nor have we limited our inquiry to matters relating only to the 9/11 attacks. Rather, we have attempted, based upon an array of oversight activities related to the performance of the FBI over an extended period of time, to highlight broader and more systemic problems within the DOJ and FBI and to ascertain whether these systemic shortcomings played a role in the implementation of the FISA prior to the 9/11 attacks. […] The oversight review this Committee has conducted during the 107th Congress has uncovered a number of problems in the FISA process: a misunderstanding of the rules governing the application procedure, varying interpretations of the law among key participants, and a break-down of communication among all those involved in the FISA application process. Most disturbing is the lack of accountability that has permeated the entire application procedure."

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Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa: http://www.grassley.senate.gov/
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