The bureau appears to have used the blanket records demands at least 11 times in 2006 alone as a quick way to clean up mistakes made over several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a letter provided to Congress by a lawyer for an F.B.I. agent who witnessed the missteps.
The F.B.I. has come under fire for its use of so-called national security letters to inappropriately gather records on Americans in terrorism investigations, but details have not previously been disclosed about its use of “blanket” warrants, a one-step operation used to justify the collection of hundreds of phone and e-mail records at a time.
See also Report on F.B.I. Use of Personal Data on the DoJ Inspector General report: A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006 (local copy)
Note: HR 3773 (in particular H.Res. 1041) is up for a House vote this afternoon, where tough sledding is anticipated in the face of the President’s continued (pdf) misrepresentation (pdf) of what the bill actually says.