An anonymous reader points out that, by using National Security Letters, the FBI and other agencies can legally pull your credit report
. The letters have been used by the FBI (mostly) but in some cases by the CIA and Defense Department. From the article: "'These statutory tools may provide key leads for counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations,' Whitman said. 'Because these are requests for information rather than court orders, a DOD request under the NSL statutes cannot be compelled absent court involvement.'"
Recipients of the letters, banks and credit bureaus, usually hand over the requested information voluntarily. A posting at tothecenter.com quotes the Vice President
on the use of the letters: "It's perfectly legitimate activity. There's nothing wrong or illegal with it. It doesn't violate people's civil rights... The Defense Department gets involved because we've got hundreds of bases inside the United States that are potential terrorist targets."