WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales assured Congress in 2005 that the FBI had not abused powers granted under an anti-terrorism law despite having received reports of potential violations, The Washington Post reported in Tuesday editions.
Internal FBI documents indicate that in the three months before he sought to renew the USA Patriot Act, Gonzales received at least half dozen reports of legal or procedural violations, including one six days before his Senate testimony, the Post said.
Gonzales was sent copies of reports that said administrative rules or laws protecting civil liberties and privacy had been violated, the Post said, citing documents released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Justice officials said they could not immediately determine whether Gonzales read any of the FBI reports in 2005 and 2006, the Post said.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse told the newspaper that when Gonzales testified, he was speaking in the context of reports before this year that found no misconduct or abuses related to the Patriot Act.
The Post said the FBI reports also alerted Gonzales in 2005 to problems with the use of national security letters, which allow the agency to compel the release of private information such as communications or financial records without getting court approval.
FBI officials said in June that agents possibly violated the law or its rules more than 1,000 times since 2002 in collecting data about phone calls, e-mails and financial records while investigating terrorism or espionage suspects.