Attorneys Issue Response to Inspector General Report Confirming FBI Search Violations

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Lindsey M. Williams or Stephen M. Kohn (202) 324-1903
lmw@whistleblowers.org

Attorneys Issue Response to Inspector General Report Confirming FBI Search Violations

Key FBI Whistleblower Urges Strong Corrective Action

WASHINGTON - Today
at 10 a.m. the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General
released a report that confirms the allegations regarding an illegal
FBI domestic surveillance program, which were reported on the front
page of the Washington Post yesterday, January 19, 2010.

Attorneys for Bassem Youssef,
the highly decorated Chief of the FBI's Communications Analysis Unit in
the Counterterrorism Division, are requesting that Attorney General
Eric Holder take strong corrective action to ensure that civil
liberties are protected and that the FBI properly conduct
counterterrorism investigations. 
According to a letter sent today by Mr. Stephen Kohn, the Executive Director
of the National Whistleblower Center and one of Mr. Youssef's attorneys:

"The
Exigent Letter policies flooded the FBI with records on Americans who
had no relationship whatsoever to terrorist activities. In part these
violations stemmed from a deeper problem - the Bureau's inability to
fully understand the nature and tactics of Middle Eastern
religious-based extremists.  The FBI is thus unable to correctly access
threats.  That is, it cannot focus on legitimate threats and quickly
dismiss false ones."

"These deficiencies constitute a grave
threat to our nation's security.  If the FBI and other intelligence
agencies are not able to conduct accurate and timely threat
assessments, mistakes such as the recent Christmas Airline Bombing
incident and the
shootings at Fort Hood, Texas will continue.  Our nation will remain
vulnerable to legitimate terrorist threats that will not be detected in
time."

The letter also details
Mr. Youssef's invaluable contribution of reducing the number of exigent letters issued by 95.29% (pages 3-5), rebuts some of the OIG findings (page 12) and suggests solutions for properly managing counterterrorism programs (page 10).  

Lindsey
M. Williams, Director of Advocacy at the National Whistleblowers
Center, said, "Congress should get to the bottom of this by calling Mr.
Youssef to testify, so that he can
explain the full story behind the exigent letters, and how the FBI's
practices have undermined properly targeted terrorism investigations. "

"Mr.
Youssef's invaluable contributions
have once again shown why Congress needs to pass H.R. 1507 to protect
all national security whistleblowers," Ms. Williams added.

The National Whistleblowers Center is asking people to TAKE ACTION by sending letters showing their support for H.R. 1507 and Mr. Youssef to their Congressional representatives.

Links:

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Since 1988, the NWC and attorneys associated with it have supported whistleblowers in the courts and before Congress and achieved victories for environmental protection, government contract fraud, nuclear safety and government and corporate accountability.

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