FBI General Counsel Questioned on EFF NSL Report
At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee today, FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni faced tough questions about the EFF Report on the abuse of a National Security Letter (NSL) to North Carolina State University at Raleigh.
In her testimony, Caproni speculated that this misuse of the NSL might have been the result of a "miscommunication." According to a 2007 report by Caproni's Office of the General Counsel, however, the FBI Charlotte Division "acted upon the advice and direction of FBIHQ [and] Charlotte personnel sought legal advice prior to the service of the NSL." FBI documents show that the NSL at issue was reviewed by the Senior Supervisory Special Agent for the Raleigh office, and then reviewed by the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Division before being signed.
The Raleigh office also reported that "We had our CDC [Chief Division Counsel] and FBIHQ involved in in this throughout the process."
Later documents show that the field agents contacted FBI attorneys for "guidance concerning the matter and the questioned legality of the NSL," including the Acting Chief Division Counsel and legal counsel with the Office of General Counsel.
That's a whole lot of miscommunication.