This report will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March. This is, of course, because it covers a time period which predates the reforms we now have in place.Mueller told the Committee that the FBI adopted various new procedures and internal oversight mechanisms, including the creation of a new office, aimed at preventing future lapses.
We will continue our vigilance in this area...We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people.
Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked Mueller about the CIA's confirmed use of waterboarding on terrorism suspects captured after the September 11 attacks. Mueller replied the FBI's policy prohibits the use of coercive techniques.
A determination was made ... we would not participate in that type of interrogation....I believe that our techniques are effective....Those techniques are founded on a desire to develop a rapport and a relationship.
He added that the FBI's techniques had worked in questioning deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) asked if there had been a rift between the CIA and the FBI on the interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects. Mueller replied,
There periodically have been disagreements.In its initial March 2007 report, the department's inspector general revealed that the FBI abused its power by improperly obtaining telephone, financial and other secret records between 2003 and 2005, using national security letters, which allow the FBI to compel the release of private information without obtaining authority from a judge or grand jury, after powers granted under the USA Patriot Act. At the time, the WaPo reported on FBI General Counsel Valerie E. Caproni testifying before Congress, attributing an "F report card" from the IG partly to the bureau's inexperience in conducting its national security work in secrecy, away from a judicial system that threatens to expose any flaws.
That imposes upon us a far higher obligation to make sure we have a vigorous compliance system.She appologized profusely, saying,
As she cited the fact that the FBI never told its agents to retain signed copies of the national security letters, The IG interjected
I think the public should be concerned. We're concerned. And we're going to fix it.
This was an example of the incredibly sloppy practice that was unacceptable.His report noted that some lawyers at FBI field offices felt pressured to go along with requests for letters that they knew were not adequately documented. I've got to wonder what kind of atmosphere puts this kind of pressure on attorney;s and why an IG's investigation was required to stop the practice. What does this say about the atmosphere of entitlement and being above the law we have seen in the Bush Administration to date. How does this tie into the current demands for telecom immunity which will serve to shield the administrations actions further from scrutiny?