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Friday, March 09, 2007
Reaction to government audit finding 'serious misuse' of Patriot Act
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Here is reaction to a government audit saying the FBI is guilty of "serious misuse" of the power to secretly obtain private information under the Patriot Act:

  • Anthony D. Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union:
    "The inspector general's report should come as no surprise. And it should
    come as no surprise that Attorney General Gonzales is eager to blame the FBI,
    or that the FBI engaged in these abuses. The attorney general and the FBI are
    part of the problem and they cannot be trusted to be part of the solution.
    Congress must act immediately to repeal these dangerous Patriot Act

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont
    "I have long been troubled by the lack of accountability on these
    national security letters. They need to be reassessed. The report indicates
    abuse of the authority. That needs to change. You've got to have people who are
    responsible and in charge, and you cannot have people act as free agents on
    something where they are going to be delving into your privacy.
    "We all want to stop terrorists. We all want to stop criminals. But the
    FBI work for us, the American people, not the other way around."

  • Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania
    "There will be oversight hearings, and we may have to go farther than
    that and change the law to revise the Patriot Act to impose statutory
    requirements and perhaps take away some of the authority which we've already
    given to the FBI, since they appear not to be able to know how to use it."

  • Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas:
    "I expect more from the FBI and its leaders, especially since during the
    last Congress when we had the FBI in for hearings on this subject, we expressed
    our concern regarding the potential abuse of NSLs and emphasized that strict
    procedures be followed. Apparently, our concerns were well-founded. ... These
    mistakes, while perhaps not intentional, must be rectified. I intend to hold
    briefings and hearings to understand the scope of these problems and to ensure
    corrective action has been taken."
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