F.B.I. agents were asked to scrutinize phone numbers deemed …

F.B.I. agents were asked to scrutinize phone numbers deemed suspicious because of information from the program. But the agents were not told why the  numbers had been deemed suspicious, only “not to use the information in legal or judicial proceedings.”

That made some agents uncomfortable, and it was not clear how such mysterious leads fit into their rules for investigations. The Justice Department created the new type of investigation, initially called a “threat assessment,” which could be opened with lower-grade tips.

Agents now use them tens of thousands of times a year.

Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying – NYTimes.com

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