fbi-sealA Justice Department inspector general report reveals FBI agents did not find a single major terrorism case using warrantless snooping on Americans’ phone calls and emails.

“The agents we interviewed did not identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained in response to Section 215 orders,” the report admits.

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to let federal agents engage in “bulk data collection” without a constitutionally-required warrant.

The revelation comes as Congress debates whether to reauthorize the Act.

Advocates of the surveillance argue that bulk data collection is necessary to stop terrorist attacks.

The Justice Department report suggests otherwise.

The report also finds the FBI failed to quickly adopt rules and practices protecting Americans’ privacy from unconstitutional violations.

“The FBI’s failure to comply with the statute’s minimization procedures for seven years is an indictment of the intelligence community’s system of secret oversight,” says American Civil Liberties Union attorney Alex Abdo.

That’s disturbing, because the FBI’s use of this widespread power is growing exponentially.

The report reveals that the FBI expanded its Section 215 powers 50 times in a three-year period, lowering the legal threshold for its use.

Despite the dramatic increase in warrantless dragnetting of phone calls and emails, the FBI failed to crack a single terrorism case.

The FBI also uses Section 215 to nab Internet records, which according to the report have uncovered nothing new.

But that won’t stop the law from becoming reauthorized, despite the objection of many senators.

“For years, any American’s communication data could have been tracked and collected by the government, whether or not they were suspected of a crime,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE.) “That program has been carried out under Section 215 of the Patriot Act based on flimsy or mistaken interpretations of the original law, all in the name of our national security.”

“There is not one clear, publicly confirmed instance of a plot being foiled because of this Section 215 program,” Coons made clear.