A government watchdog, the American Center for Law and Justice, is using the federal Freedom of Information Act procedures to go after the Deep State in Washington to find out whether the FBI is conducting unlawful searches on Americans.
The ACLJ noted in a new report that the Washington Post recently documented how, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation performed potentially millions of searches of American electronic data last year without a warrant.”
It explained, “An annual report published Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence disclosed that the FBI conducted as many as 3.4 million searches of U.S. data that had been previously collected by the National Security Agency.”
Now, the ACLJ said, it has filed a FOIA request “to get to the bottom of this outrage.”
“Specifically, we requested ‘records pertaining to the FBI’s noncompliance with Section 702 [50 U.S. Code § 1881a] of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in 2021,'” the group reported.
The ACLJ notes that the law explains the “attorney general and the director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up to one year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
But, the watchdog points out, the law specifically prohibits any “person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States” from being targeted.
Where it gets “interesting,” and “troubling,” the ACLJ reports, is that the 2021 Director of National Intelligence Annual Statistical Transparency Report explains that during the first half of 2021, “there were a number of large batch queries related to attempts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure by foreign cyber actors. These queries, which included approximately 1.9 million query terms related to potential victims—including U.S. persons—accounted for the vast majority of the increase in U.S. person queries conducted by [the] FBI over the prior year.”
The reported went on: “A batch query is when [the] FBI runs multiple query terms at the same time using a common justification for all of the query terms. Each of the query terms in a batch query is counted as a separate query. These particular large batch queries were reviewed by the Department of Justice and found to be compliant with the FBI’s Section 702 querying procedures.”
Explained the ACLJ, “When the government determines that one of its own agencies is in compliance, we all know there may be more to the story.”
And the DNI report pointed out from December 2020 to November 2021, the FBI “conducted an estimated 3,394,053 ‘U.S. Person queries of unminimized Section 702-a[c]quired contents and noncontents for foreign intelligence information and/or evidence of a crime.'”
That’s a significant percentage of Americans, and the ACLJ called it “staggering and problematic.”
The organization said it launched the FOIA process “to find out if the FBI is conducting unlawful searches on Americans.”
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