The FBI’s most controversial spy tool is under threat.

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Prominent politicians, including US Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul, have previously introduced bills to limit the FBI’s access to unredacted Section 702 information. A bill introduced by lawmakers in 2017, known as the USA Rights Act, sought to rein in what they described as the FBI’s “clearing authority.” Current House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries was a cosponsor of the bill.

Former Republican House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, now a senior adviser to the Privacy Project, said: “The intelligence community and the FBI, in particular, needlessly stole the most confidential and sensitive information of American citizens. Monitoring responsibility. Congress should add more safeguards to Section 702 to protect Americans’ personal information.

Other troubling incidents described in earlier amended court rulings were also cited, including FBI Section 702 information provided by fixers given access to FBI field offices during “background checks,” individuals who applied to join the bureau’s “Citizens Academy”—”business, religious, civic and community leaders.” ” program and “crime by individuals who come into the field office to make a tip or report that they are the victim.”

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment. Questions raised by the House and Senate Judiciary Committee offices were also unanswered.

Sean Vitka, a senior policy adviser at Demand Progress, which focuses on national security reform, said it’s hard to overstate the danger of federal agents seizing what he says are “millions of emails and other communications” without a warrant, ignoring basic safeguards. “There is something terribly wrong with FISA and the surveillance state outside of government control, and it’s imperative that Congress confront it this year before it’s too late,” he said.

According to research conducted by Demand Progress, the recently disclosed errors are not the first in the FBI’s history. In the year Beginning in 2017 and continuing through at least 2019, the bureau is known to have conducted thousands of legally-unauthorized searches, according to declassified court records. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court In a 2018 memo, for example, the FBI’s surveillance procedures “as implemented” were inconsistent with either FISA requirements or the Fourth Amendment.

It also failed to comply with regulations passed in 2018 that require a court order before using Section 702 information for further domestic criminal investigations. A surveillance review conducted prior to November 2020, for example, found that the FBI had filed 40 warrantless inquiries into a variety of activities, from organized crime and health care fraud to public corruption and bribery.

An earlier DOJ audit—declared in August 2021—revealed that, in one instance, an intelligence analyst used information obtained through FISA at the request of the FBI to conduct “batch interrogations” using the personal information of numerous current and former United States government officials. Journalists and political commentators. While the analyst tried to avoid US data, he said, in some cases, they “unwittingly” failed to do so.

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