While in Uruguay, President George W. Bush has acknowledged "FBI shortfallings" connected with the disclosure that the bureau improperly used the USA Patriot Act to obtain thousands of business, financial and other records in the United States.
But at a news briefing in Uruguay on Saturday, as part of a weeklong trip to Latin America, Bush said that the provision that had been misused remained an important tool against terrorism.
Bush said that he had been briefed on a report by the inspector general of the Justice Department that found that the FBI had improperly issued thousands of national security letters, a form of administrative subpoena, which allowed it to obtain personal information without court approval. He said that the briefing had been conducted by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Robert Mueller 3rd, the director of the FBI.
"My question is, 'What are you going to do to solve the problem, and how fast can you get it solved?'" Bush said. "I was pleased by Director Mueller's answer that he had already begun to address the problems."