Saturday, May 27, 2023

FBI Searched Jan. 6 Rioters and George Floyd Demonstrators in Spy Database; FBI improperly used warrantless search powers more than 278,000 times in 2021, FISA court filing reveals

Photo: John Minchillo/Associated Press
FBI Searched Jan. 6 Rioters and George Floyd Demonstrators in Spy Database:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly searched a trove of intelligence gathered through a foreign spying law for information on people suspected of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the George Floyd protests, a court opinion released Friday showed.
Despite a lack of evidence, the FBI performed more than a dozen searches of raw foreign intelligence data related to people believed to be involved in the Capitol riot to hunt for foreign ties, the court said. Separately, three Jan. 6 searches were conducted that used more than 23,000 search terms such as an email account to look for evidence of foreign influence in relation to an unidentified group involved in the riot. The Justice Department later determined there was insufficient factual support for the searches.
FBI analysts also searched for information related to 133 people arrested in the aftermath of the protests prompted by the killing of Floyd, a Black man who died pleading for his life while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. Due to redactions in the opinion, it wasn’t clear whether the searches related to individuals protesting racism and police brutality, or to counterprotesters. A senior FBI official declined to clarify. Four Minneapolis police officers have been convicted of crimes in connection with Floyd’s death, including Derek Chauvin, found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 22-and-1/2 years in prison.
In a separate incident, the bureau ran identifying terms of 19,000 American donors to an unnamed congressional campaign through the foreign intelligence database. An official said the search involved a congressional candidate and not a current member of Congress. A later review by Justice Department lawyers concluded that only eight of the thousands of terms had a plausible connection to foreign government activity.
FBI officials also ran more than 400 U.S. defense contractors and holders of security clearances through the foreign intelligence database despite no evidence they were being targeted by a foreign power. And between 2016 and 2020, the FBI routinely ran identifying terms of people who appeared in police homicide reports, “including victims, next-of-kin, witnesses and suspects.” --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File
FBI improperly used warrantless search powers more than 278,000 times in 2021, FISA court filing reveals:
The FBI improperly used warrantless search powers against U.S. citizens more than 278,000 times in the year ending November 2021, according to an unsealed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) filing.
U.S. citizens covered in that improper effort included people involved in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021; George Floyd protesters during the summer of 2020; and donors to a failed congressional candidate, the filing said.
Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the government to conduct targeted surveillance of non-U.S. persons located abroad to acquire foreign intelligence information. When U.S. citizens are flagged as part of these investigations, the FBI takes over the process of querying them for possible security reasons.
The court filing, which spanned 127 pages, was unsealed Friday by the FISC, but was filed in April 2022.
"As Director Wray has made clear, the errors described in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s opinion are completely unacceptable," a senior FBI official told Fox News Friday. "As a result of the audits that revealed these instances of noncompliance, the FBI changed its querying procedures to make sure these errors do not happen again. These steps have led to significant improvement in the way we conduct queries of lawfully obtained Section 702 information."
"We are committed to continuing this work and providing greater transparency into the process to earn the trust of the American people and advance our mission of safeguarding both the nation’s security, and privacy and civil liberties, at the same time," the senior FBI official said.
The FBI has faced scrutiny for the misuse of Section 702, and FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the bureau has taken steps to reform the system.
Fox News Digital first reported last month that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said there was a "significant decline" in the total number of queries the FBI made into U.S. citizens between 2021 and 2022 under Section 702, due to the changes the bureau made to its "systems, processes, and training relating to U.S. persons queries."
In the year ending November 2022, the FBI conducted a total of about 204,000 queries, a 94% drop from the previous year's reporting period when it conducted nearly 3.4 million. --->READ MORE HERE
If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: