Washington, D.C. The FBI is gathering and sorting information about Americans to help search for potential terrorists, insurance cheats and crooked pharmacists, according to a government report obtained Tuesday.
Records about identity thefts, real estate transactions and motor vehicle accidents, and complaints about Internet drug companies are being searched for common threads to aid law enforcement officials, the Justice Department said in a report to Congress on the agency's data-mining practices.
In addition, the report disclosed government plans to build a new database to assess the risk posed by people identified as potential or suspected terrorists.
The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the Justice Department said the database was "ripe for abuse." The American Civil Liberties Union immediately derided the quality of the information that could be used to score someone as a terror threat.