from ap/yahoo: The FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the USA Patriot Act to secretly obtain personal information about people in the United States, a Justice Department audit concluded Friday.
And for three years the FBI underreported to Congress how often it forced businesses to turn over the customer data, the audit found.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who oversees the FBI, described the problems cited in the report as unacceptable and left open the possibility of criminal charges. He ordered further investigation.
"Once we get that information, we'll be in a better position to assess what kinds of steps should be taken," Gonzales told reporters following a speech to privacy officials.
"There is no excuse for the mistakes that have been made, and we are going to make things right as quickly as possible," the attorney general said.
FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was to blame for not putting more safeguards into place.
"I am to be held accountable," Mueller said. He told reporters he would correct the problems and did not plan to resign.