Court Documents Reveal FBI’s Inappropriate Surveillance Data Search on Senator, Persisting in Rule Violations

The FBI may have violated legislative oversight by engaging in improper surveillance of U.S. officials, including an unidentified senator and state officials, as reported by The Daily Caller.

Court records disclose that the federal law enforcement agency misused its authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to conduct surveillance on these officials.

An opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court documented the FBI’s inappropriate utilization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as per a report from The Hill.

“The surveillance court outlined three examples where FBI agents conducted searches of ‘sensitive query terms,’ like those of U.S. public officials or candidates, without first seeking approval from the FBI’s deputy director,” according to The Hill.

“In June 2022, an analyst conducted four queries of Section 702 information using the last names of a U.S. Senator and a state senator, without further limitation,” the court explained.

According to the report, the National Security Division at the Department of Justice concluded that the FBI did not meet the required standard for conducting queries against the two officials.

The report highlighted that in October 2022, a Staff Operations Specialist ran an unauthorized query using a state judge’s Social Security number after the judge had filed a complaint with the FBI about alleged civil rights violations by a municipal chief of police.

The discovery of this improper surveillance came to light through records obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The surveillance was made possible under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which grants broad surveillance capabilities to the FBI against foreign targets.

The FBI’s actions have sparked calls from lawmakers to conduct an immediate review and restructuring of the agency.

These demands have been amplified due to existing allegations of the FBI’s politicization and censorship, with Congress being urged to implement fundamental reforms to restore the Bureau’s integrity.

FBI Director Chris Wray wrote to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, defending the critical importance of Section 702 to national security, citing instances where it helped thwart cyber-attacks by China and Iran.

The current situation has raised concerns about the FBI’s surveillance powers under Section 702, as it is up for renewal soon.

While intelligence chiefs advocate for its continuation, emphasizing its role in national security and countering foreign threats and cyber-attacks, there is still skepticism surrounding the matter.

Interestingly, President Joe Biden had previously voted against FISA Section 702 during his time as a U.S. senator, expressing concerns about its potential expansion of presidential powers and its perceived lack of necessity in addressing identified problems.