kwietman writes "The FBI admitted that in 2006, for the fourth straight year, they improperly accessed phone and internet records of U.S. citizens. Director Robert Mueller testified that the abuses occurred prior to sweeping reforms enacted in 2007, and actually blamed the breaches in part on the telecommunications companies, who submitted more information than was requested. In another unsurprising development, the FBI also underreported the number of security letters - used to authorize wiretaps and to subpoena internet and telecom records - by over 4,600. The use of these letters to identify potential terrorists has, according to the government audit, increased dramatically since the implementation of the Patriot Act. Over 1,000 of these security letters were found to be improper in 2005, and similar numbers were expected for 2006 and 2007."