The U.S. Justice Department's inspector general says the FBI used what he calls "flawed" and "troubling" practices to obtain thousands of phone records for terrorism investigations.
In a report issued Wednesday, Inspector General Glenn Fine says the FBI sent requests via e-mails, post-it notes and phone calls to phone companies in order to obtain records without the required approval from the attorney general.
The report also describes numerous lapses by FBI agents seeking material through about 700 emergency letters to phone service providers between 2002 and 2006. The inspector general says many of the urgent instances used to get calling records were not real emergencies.
The FBI says it obtained only phone billing records, not the content of calls.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.