Several GOP members in the U.S. House of Representatives are asking for answers from the FBI, following a court-ordered report which revealed that the law enforcement agency spied on over 3 million Americans without any legal warrant.
On May 25th, it was reported by the Epoch Times that Reps. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to the FBI Director Christopher Wray, demanding answers about why the FBI was wiretapping and collecting personal data of more than 3 million Americans, without procuring a warrant first.
Usually, a governmental agency needs to acquire a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant before exercising its limited ability to gather foreign intelligence.
According to section 702 of this law, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence can authorize the investigation of non-Americans, who are living in the U.S., to gather foreign intelligence information.
However, with a FISA warrant, any governmental agency can extend the reach of the people it wants to probe, which can even include American citizens who were in contact with foreign individuals targeted by the Feds.
Previously, through classified reports, the federal government had been concealing the application of FISA warrants, which were used by the governmental agencies to collect information against Americans.
However, in 2020, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) ordered the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to reveal the number of Americans the FBI spied on by using the information obtained under section 702.
To comply with this decision, ODNI started releasing Annual Statistical Transparency reports that focused on the number of U.S. citizens that the FBI had collected information on by invoking the use of section 702.
The FBI recently released the statistics for the fiscal year 2021 which showed that over 3.3 million searches were done against individual Americans. As compared to this, only 1.3 million queries were made in 2020.
Statistically, the FBI searches against Americans without a warrant increased nearly 250% during Biden’s first year in office.
According to the ODNI, around half of these searches were related to a much bigger investigation against Russians who were trying to weaken America. However, it must be noted that most of these queries were made without a warrant.