Prominent politicians, including US Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul, have introduced bills in the past that would have sought to limit the FBI’s access to non-minified Section 702 data. A bill called the American Bill of Rights, originally introduced by lawmakers in 2017, sought to rein in the FBI’s “all-encompassing powers,” which they described as “shrouded in secrecy.” Current House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries is a co-sponsor of the bill.
“The intelligence community, and the FBI in particular, needlessly plundered the most private and sensitive information of American citizens in contempt for the Fourth Amendment,” said Bob Goodlatte, a former Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who now is a senior advisor to the Privacy and Privacy Project. Oversight accountability. “Congress must add impenetrable guardrails to Section 702 requiring a warrant for good cause to access the private information of Americans.”
Other troubling incidents, previously revealed by a redacted court ruling, were also cited, including the FBI’s search for Section 702 data during a “background check” of repairmen granted access to FBI field offices; Individuals at the Bureau’s “Citizens Academy” — a program targeting “business, religious, civic and community leaders” — and “individuals who enter field offices seeking leads or reporting that they are victims.” “
The FBI did not respond to a request for comment. Inquiries from the offices of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees also went unanswered.
Sean Vitka, a senior policy adviser at Demand Progress, a nonprofit focused on national security reform, said it was hard to exaggerate the fact that federal agents were going through “millions of emails and other documents without a warrant.” communication” while ignoring basic safeguards. “There is a serious problem with FISA and the government’s out-of-control surveillance state, and it is absolutely imperative that Congress confront it this year before it is too late,” he said.
The recently disclosed error isn’t the first in the FBI’s history, according to Demand Progress research. Beginning in 2017 and continuing through at least 2019, the bureau conducted thousands of searches that were not legally permitted, according to declassified court records. For example, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court noted in a 2018 memo that the FBI’s minimization procedures “have been implemented” neither in compliance with FISA nor with the Fourth Amendment itself.
It also failed to comply with regulations passed in 2018 that require a court order before using Section 702 data to further a domestic criminal investigation. For example, a surveillance review conducted before November 2020 found that the FBI conducted 40 inquiries without proper authorization into a range of activities, from organized crime and health care fraud to public corruption and bribery.
A previous DOJ audit (declassified in August 2021) disclosed that, in one instance, an intelligence analyst at the request of the FBI used the personal information of “multiple current and former U.S. government officials” to conduct a review of information obtained by FISA. “batch queries”, journalists and political commentators. While analysts have tried to remove the US information, in some cases, it said, they have “unintentionally failed”.
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