EPIC FOIA Notes #10
December 15, 2005
"Recent Changes" Allow FBI to "Bypass" Oversight Office
for full PDF document]
by EPIC in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit
reveal FBI agents expressing frustration that the Office of
Intelligence Policy and Review, an office that reviews FBI search
requests, had not approved applications for orders under Section
the Patriot Act. A subsequent memo refers to "recent changes" allowing
the FBI to "bypass" the office. EPIC is expecting to
information about this matter.
Oversight of the FBI's expanded intelligence powers under the Patriot
Under Section 215, the FBI must show only "relevance"
to a foreign intelligence or terrorism investigation to obtain vast
amounts of personal information. It is unclear why the Office of
Intelligence Policy and Review did not approve these applications.
The FBI has not revealed this information, nor did it explain whether
other search methods had failed.
Congress is now considering whether new safeguards
are necessary for 215 investigations before the Patriot
Act is renewed. These documents raise important questions about
the sufficiency of oversight of the FBI's expanded investigative authorities.