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Newly released documents have revealed that the FBI intentionally misused investigative powers with regard to a terrorist suspect in order to slow it's own progress on the case as a justification to call for expanded administrative spying power.
The documents, obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation via the freedom of information act, show that the bureau delayed an investigation into a former North Carolina State University student, suspected of links to terrorism, by using an improper National Security Letter.
The order to do so came directly from FBI Headquarters and the bureau failed to report the misuse for almost two years.
An EFF statement reads:
"Over the span of three days in July of 2005, FBI documents show that the bureau first obtained the educational records of the suspect with a grand jury subpoena. However, at the direction of FBI headquarters, agents returned the records and then requested them again through an improper NSL.
Later in July of 2005, FBI Director Robert Mueller used the delay in gathering the records as an example of why the FBI needed administrative subpoena power instead of NSLs so investigations could move faster.
The NSL in this case was improper because under the PATRIOT ACT, NSL authority does not allow the government to seek educational records from universities.