Republicans Demand Answers After FBI Spied on Over 3 Million Americans without Warrants – The Published Reporter®

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH), in a letter dated May 25, wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray and asked for an explanation as to why his organization had wiretapped and collected personal information from over 3.3 million U.S. residents without their knowledge or permission, as per recently-released court information.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House GOP members are insisting on answers from the FBI after court documents indicate that the agency had engaged in spying on over three million American citizens without any warrants.

Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH), in a letter dated May 25, wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray and asked for an explanation as to why his organization had wiretapped and collected personal information from over 3.3 million U.S. residents without their knowledge or permission, as per recently-released court information.

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The information relates to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) section 702, which allows federal agencies to target “non-U.S. persons who are reasonably believed to be outside of the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” In addition, FISA also allows the government to gather Intel on any U.S. citizens who may have had contact with targeted foreign individuals; however, the application of FISA by the FBI and other agencies against Americans has normally been conducted behind a shroud of secrecy.

 Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH), in a letter dated May 25
This document was modified to best fit this screen. You can view the original document via https://republicans-judiciary.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/2022-05-24-JDJ-MT-to-Wray-FISA.pdf

That is, until the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ruled in November 2020 that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report “the number of U.S. person queries run by the FBI against Section 702-acquired information.” As a result of this ruling, ODNI’s Annual Statistical Transparency Report for 2021 included information on Intel gathered by the FBI from U.S. citizens, catching the eye of Reps. Jordan and Turner, among others.

ODNI’s 2021 Transparency Report indicates that the FBI carried out 3,394,053 searches for information about American citizens, representing a 250 percent increase over the number of searches conducted in 2020, which numbered 1,324,057; over 50 percent of these searches – approximately 1.9 million – were related to investigations into Russian interference with critical U.S. infrastructure.

ODNI’s 2021 report indicates that the government seemingly greatly ramped up their Intel efforts against its residents during the first year of Joe Biden’s presidency.

In their letter to Wray, Jordan and Turner issued a plethora of requests, including explanations for the searches conducted into all 3,394,053 U.S. citizens that appeared in the 2021 ODNI report, what information was gathered, and how the information was used for investigative purposes.

In addition, Jordan and Turner also asked for information on the 1.9 million Americans who were investigated over Russian infrastructure interference, as well as “a detailed statement about the FBI’s investigation, including the status of the investigation and any information uncovered about the identity of the Russian actors and their involvement with or connection to the Russian government, if any.”

The two Republicans also asked for explanations for various other instances of perceived overreach on the FBI’s part, including Intel gathered between the years of 2015 and 2020; a written response from Wray was demanded no later than 5 p.m. on June 7.

FISA was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter on 25 October 1978; section 702 is reauthorized by Congress every six years, with the next vote due in 2024.

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