October 13, 2007 | By Marcia Hofmann

EFF Documents Detail Pentagon Demands for Financial Records

Today the New York Times published an article based on Freedom of Information Act documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which provide a glimpse into the Defense Department's use of National Security Letters to collect bank and credit information in certain Pentagon investigations. According to the story:

An internal Pentagon review this year found systemic problems and poor coordination in the military’s efforts to obtain records from American banks and consumer credit agencies in terrorism and espionage investigations, according to Pentagon documents and interviews.

In response to the review, Defense Department officials have ordered changes intended to strengthen legal safeguards and impose new training standards for use of the letters, which are used to examine the financial assets of American military personnel and civilians involved in military investigations. But military officials said the review had reinforced their judgment that the program had operated within legal limits.

The problems at the Pentagon that are described in the documents appear to mirror some of those confronted by the F.B.I., where an internal investigation this year into the bureau’s use of thousands of national security letters found widespread problems and little oversight in the way the demands for records were issued.

You can read the documents on which the article is based here.


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