[JURIST] The FBI issued a total of 9,254 National Security Letters (NSLs) [PDF sample text; ACLU backgrounder] in 2005 related to 3,501 US citizens and legal residents, according to a new US Department of Justice [official website] report. The NSLs allow the executive branch to gather information about individuals suspected in terrorism or espionage cases from banks, credit card, telephone and Internet companies without court approval or a grand jury subpoena. The report was made Friday to US House and Senate leaders as required under the renewal [JURIST report] of the USA Patriot Act [JURIST news archive]. The number of NSLs issued in previous years remains classified.
The report also revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FJC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] issued 155 warrants to examine business records since April 2005, a significant increase from the prior 17 months when only 35 such warrants were issued. The court also issued 2,072 special warrants last year, twice the number issued in 2000, for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies. AP has more.