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Briefs (right)

Wilma’s 125-Mph Winds Rip
Both Florida Coasts

By Abby Goodnough

Hurricane Wilma charged across South Florida in a few turbulent hours on Monday morning, thrashing neighborhoods on both of the state’s coasts, shattering high-rise windows, pushing seawater over much of the Florida Keys and knocking out power to an estimated 6 million people.

The storm entered the state shortly after dawn near Marco Island on the southwest Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of up to 125 mph and soon was traveling at the rapid clip of 25 miles per hour. It carved a wide path northeast, roiling the Miami and Fort Lauderdale region and finally, seven hours later, roaring into the Atlantic Ocean near West Palm Beach, still a Category 2 tempest with winds of 105 miles per hour.

Most of the region’s populated areas were on the northern side of the storm, which was less brutal, but still suffered widespread flooding, crumpled mobile homes, airborne roofs and countless downed trees. Early damage estimates were at least $2 billion. Fort Lauderdale and several other cities ordered residents to boil their tap water. In Miami, the winds shattered skyscraper windows, leaving a coating of glass shards along downtown Brickell Avenue.

Authorities said at least six people were killed in the storm.

Tighter FBI Oversight Urged
For Probe Lapses

By Eric Lichtblau

Civil rights advocates called Monday for Congress to increase its oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surveillance of suspects in intelligence investigations, in light of newly disclosed records indicating that the FBI had violated the law.

But the FBI defended its record, saying it had been diligent in policing itself and in correcting lapses that it considered to be largely technical and procedural.

The debate was prompted by a set of internal FBI documents made public Monday that disclosed at least a dozen violations of federal law or bureau policy from 2002 to 2004 in the handling of surveillance and investigative matters.

Expanding on that data, the FBI said on Monday that internal reviews had identified a total of 113 violations since last year that were referred to a federal intelligence board.

In several cases, the documents released Monday showed, FBI agents extended investigations and surveillance operations for months without getting proper approval from supervisors or giving notification.

In another case, an FBI agent still on probation gained access to banking records without getting needed approval, in violation federal privacy restrictions.