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Those PATRIOT Act Cassandras and Chicken Littles? They were on to something.

The FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about people in the United States, underreporting for three years how often it forced businesses to turn over customer data, a Justice Department audit found.

FBI agents sometimes demanded the data without proper authorization, according to a 126-page audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. At other times, the audit found, the FBI improperly obtained telephone records in nonemergency circumstances. The audit blames agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct.

Still, "We believe the improper or illegal uses we found involve serious misuses of national security letter authorities," the audit concludes.

And did they report the accurate numbers of national security letters to Congress? No, of course not. Says the president:

"My question is, 'What are you going to do to solve the problem, and how fast can you get it solved?'" Bush said. "I was pleased by Director Mueller's answer that he had already begun to address the problems."

Referring to a news briefing that Mueller gave Friday, Bush said, "He took responsibility, as he should have."

Oh, come on. What does it take to get a Medal of Freedom anymore?

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  1. You know, when I make an huge, embarrassing, mistake at work, I wish that “taking responsibility” meant simply saying”I take responsibility” and nothing else, like it does for these guys.

  2. agreed, David

    also, when will the decider take responsibility for deciding to make bad decisions?

  3. Is this what Joe Biden was babbling about in his attack on hispanic Attourneys General over the weekend? You know, finding a problem with a subordinate agency and getting them to correct it? Might be something different.

    The criticism kinda ties into this business of ‘you didn’t connect the dots before 9/11 and we are not about to let you start now’ attitude too.

    BTW, I had to fix a similar problem a few years ago with a military organization. Similar in the sense that they were not properly keeping track of something that was important to report to the Congress. It was not the result of them ‘pulling a fast one’, although the problem could have easily been spun that way by a sneeky reporter, it was just a problem with a bad reporting system.

    Elevating a paperwork problem to the level of a secret war against America is really stretching it.

  4. Hey now, those who frighten Americans with phantoms of lost liberty are giving aid and comfort to the enemy! I know, because the guy who’s going to be remembered as Bush’s best Attorney General told me so.

    Guy, that was a really awkward race card.

  5. I was certain the whole jewish annihilation thing was a fable and then I realized that the nazis were impeccable record keepers

  6. biologist,
    the way I heard it we should be damn glad he aint no flip-flopper

  7. Guy, that was a really awkward race card.

    The anti-dentite defimation league is on to him too, if that makes you feel any better.

  8. brotherben,

    Nor is his math fuzzy. You can’t have President who uses fuzzy math.

  9. If I can whine for a moment, both this story and the DC gun story were available news Friday by lunchtime. But instead of a timely post and discussion of either of these topics, Hit and Run threw up comments about “Night Stalker” and the fact that some guy didn’t want to see Dave Weigel’s posts.

    I get that part of what makes Hit and Run exceptional is its irreverence and its ability not to take itself too seriously. I also get that Friday has a lighter tone than most other days of discussion. But I really don’t think either of those facts justifies getting scooped on arguable the two most important civil rights stories so far this year by the PRINT VERSION of the Washington Post.

  10. What does it take to get a Medal of Freedom anymore?

    Well you pretty much have to get (or at least get blamed for getting) Americans killed out of gross incompetence.

  11. The audit blames agent error and shoddy record-keeping for the bulk of the problems and did not find any indication of criminal misconduct.

    And how far will that excuse will get me April 15?

  12. But I really don’t think either of those facts justifies getting scooped on arguable the two most important civil rights stories so far this year by the PRINT VERSION of the Washington Post.

    Well, on one of them they did beat the NRA spam by 2 hours and change . . .

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