Posts Tagged ‘National Security Letters’

Freedom of Information Win: FBI releases National Security Letter templates

In another freedom of information request success, the Justice Department has released templates the FBI uses to generate National Security Letters. The FBI uses these letters to gain personal information on people they are investigating for national security matters, from entities such as internet service providers and financial and credit companies, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The FBI can request letters in security investigations without needing permission from a judge or grand jury.

The released templates are in response to an FOI request by the ACLU.  Some positive revelations from the templates include instructions for recipients who want to challenge the gag order implicit in each request for information.  Additionally, the templates show some information the FBI can request, including phone number, address, financial history, email and ‘to’ and ‘from’ email addresses.  However, the sections detailing what information companies can provide to comply with the request are heavily redacted, leaving some ambiguity as to what companies are providing.

Check out some of the templates:

NSL Template for Extensive Email or Internet Records

NSL Template for Financial Records

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with SPJ. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email – –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

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