WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 â€” The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.
The military and the C.I.A. have long been restricted in their domestic intelligence operations, and both are barred from conducting traditional domestic law enforcement work. The C.I.A.â€™s role within the United States has been largely limited to recruiting people to spy on foreign countries.