Report: FBI improves national security letter use

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department watchdog has found the FBI has improved handling of national security letters, but says the agency could do better.

Those letters allow the FBI to collect private information from telephone companies and Internet service providers without a judge’s approval. Two earlier reports from the Justice Department’s inspector general identified widespread violations in the program, including demands made without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergencies.

A report released Thursday examined the program from 2007 to 2009 and how well the FBI has implemented recommendations from the first two reports.

The inspector general says the FBI has satisfied 23 of 28 recommendations, but must do better in other areas, including reducing errors. The FBI said in response that it has continued making improvements over the last five years.