Top Biden Intel Nominee Calls Warrantless Surveillance Tool Used To Spy On Americans ‘Irreplaceable’

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead top intelligence agencies described a tool used to surveil Americans without a warrant as vital at his confirmation hearing Wednesday.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh characterized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a tool that has been abused to spy on Americans, as “extensively used” and “irreplaceable” in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Biden nominated Haugh to head both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA) in May, according to Politico.

“This is an authority to collect against foreign persons overseas,” Haugh testified. “It is an extensively used and it is an irreplaceable authority for the intelligence community.” (RELATED: Matt Gaetz Goes Ballistic Over FBI Director Dodging Dem Rep’s Question Over Warrantless Data Searches)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 12: Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) extends his hand for a hand shake with U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Timothy Haugh prior to his confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence at Hart Senate Office Building on July 12, 2023 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

FISA Section 702 enables U.S. intelligence agencies to obtain data on Americans without a warrant, and the FBI has been found on multiple occasions to abuse the process. An April 2022 unsealed court document described misuses regarding Jan. 6 suspects and protesters arrested in riots in 2020.

An employee ran queries after Jan. 6 “to find evidence of possible foreign influence, although the analyst conducting the queries had no indications of foreign influence related to the query term used,” according to the document.

“There are very strong procedures for ensuring that the target of the use of 702 is a valid foreign intelligence target and that that target is overseas,” Haugh testified.

Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked FBI Director Christopher Wray if the FBI is “purchasing location data from commercial sources without a warrant” at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

“This is an area that requires a little more precision and context for me to be able to answer that fully so let me have my staff follow back up to you so that I make sure that I don’t leave something important out,” Wray responded.

Cyber Command did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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