The Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) carried out improper surveillance on multiple government officials, according to court documents released Friday.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issued an opinion stating that the FBI improperly used powers granted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to gather information on an unnamed United States senator and other state officials after a petition was submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), according to Just The News. Section 702 of FISA grants the FBI considerable surveillance powers against foreign targets. (RELATED: ‘Do You Share This View?’: GOP Presidential Candidate Lists 15 Questions For FBI Director Ahead Of Hearing)
“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 said in the opinion, according to The Hill. A municipal judge’s social security number was used to query the 702 database in October after the judge reportedly took issue with a local police chief, according to the opinion.
“These disturbing new revelations show how Section 702 surveillance, a spy program the government claims is focused on foreign adversaries, is routinely used against Americans, immigrants, and people who are not accused of any wrongdoing,” Patrick Toomey of the ACLU told The Hill.
“The FBI continues to break the rules put in place to protect Americans, running illegal searches on public officials including a U.S. senator, and it’s long past time for Congress to step in,” Toomey said, according to Just the News. “As Congress debates reauthorizing Section 702, these opinions make clear why fundamental reforms are urgently needed.”
The FBI previously admitted over 275,000 instances of improper use of the 702 database following the release of an April 2022 opinion. The FBI has faced accusations that the agency has become politicized in cases involving pro-life advocates and parents protesting at school board meetings, and was involved in censorship following reports based on documents released to journalist Matt Taibbi by Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter.
The FBI told the Daily Caller News Foundation that “It is important to note neither the U.S. Senator nor the state senator were surveilled, and no new information was collected on either of them.”
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