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Attorneys Issue Response to Inspector General Report Confirming FBI Search Violations

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FBI Whistleblower Urges Strong Corrective Action

Washington, D.C.  January 20, 2010. Today 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.

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Tags: Bassem Youssef, Press Releases, National Security, Special Protection for FBI Whistleblowers, Protecting FBI Whistleblowers