The FBI used more “national security letters” last year under the Patriot Act to obtain information on Americans from Internet service providers without a court mandate than it did in 2007, according to a letter obtained today by Wired from Assistant Attorney General Ron Weich.
The NSLs were used 24,744 times in 2008 — 7,940 more times than in 2007, according to the letter. The memo also said the NSLs were used for 7,225 different people last year.
A March 2008 Inspector General report concluded that there were major abuses committed under the NSL provision of the Patriot Act. In 2006, more than 49,000 NSLs were issued, according to Wired.
We previously reported that Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), the recently tapped chair of the Senate Judiciary terrorism and homeland security subcommittee, is mulling whether the NSL provision should be reauthorized, amended or allowed to expire.