WASHINGTON – FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday asked lawmakers to expand the bureau’s ability to obtain records without first asking a judge, and he joined Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in seeking that every temporary provision of the anti-terrorism Patriot Act be renewed. “Now is not the time for us to be engaging in unilateral disarmament” on the legal weapons now available for fighting terrorism, Gonzales, for his part, told senators. He said that some of the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act have proven invaluable in fighting terrorism and aiding other investigations. “It’s important that these authorities remain available,” Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mueller said sections of the law that allow intelligence and law enforcement agencies to share information are especially important. “Experience has taught the FBI that there are no neat dividing lines that distinguish criminal, terrorist and foreign intelligence activity,” Mueller said in his prepared testimony. He also asked Congress to expand the FBI’s administrative subpoena powers, which allow the bureau to obtain records without approval or a judge or grand jury. “For many years, the FBI has had administrative subpoena authority for investigations of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to health care fraud to child exploitation,” he stated. “Yet, when it comes to terrorism investigations, the FBI has no such authority.” (MORE)