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.
FBI Director Christopher Wray declined to answer direct questions from lawmakers on several hot-button issues at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
The performance on Wednesday generated frustration on both sides of the political aisle, and a rebuke from FBI alumni.
Congressional Democrats have joined in bipartisan effort to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amid abuses but GOP outrage over the findings in the Durham Report, including recent calls to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland over such matters, has likely hurt such efforts.
Congressional reauthorization of FISA is due in December, with particular focus on Section 702 of the law, which permits the government to conduct targeted surveillance on foreign people outside the U.S., with the assistance of electronic communication service providers, to acquire foreign intelligence information.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz could not answer how many people in the federal government can use the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on Americans through backdoor searches when Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz asked him at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Thursday.
FISA Section 702 enables intelligence agencies to carry out targeted surveillance of foreigners outside the U.S., but they have improperly used it on Americans. There were 3.4 million backdoor searches in 2021, according to an Office of the Director of National Intelligence 2022 Transparency report.
by Robert Romano In 2016, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, Hillary Clinton, had an FBI investigation because she was storing classified information on her private server for the convenience of reading her classified emails on a smartphone. Details of the investigation came out throughout the campaign, resulting in former…
The 18-member U.S. intelligence community (IC) has released the Annual Statistical Transparency Report Regarding the Intelligence Community’s Use of National Security Surveillance Authorities. One of the few to pay attention was historian Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and an affiliated scholar at the University of California’s Hastings School of Law.
This government document, the ninth such report to be made public, “provides statistics and contextual information concerning how the Intelligence Community uses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and certain other national security authorities to accomplish its mission.”
The law authorizes the U.S. government to engage in mass surveillance of foreign targets. As Guariglia discovered, FISA is “still being abused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy on Americans without a warrant.” This abuse takes place under Section 702, an amendment to FISA.
On Monday, the office of the Inspector General at the National Security Agency (NSA) released a report showing that the agency failed to follow basic internal guidelines and court-ordered procedures in its surveillance of American citizens’ communications.
According to CNN, the report showed that the agency abused a loophole in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). While Section 702 allows the government to collect such communications of foreign citizens on foreign soil without a warrant, it prohibits the government from doing so with American citizens. The loophole allows the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to use this section to collect American communications without a warrant if they believe “a query is reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information.”
The inspector general’s report “revealed a number of concerns involving [U.S. person] identifiers used as query terms against FISA Section 702 data.” Furthermore, some of these NSA queries “did not always follow NSA procedural and policy requirements.” Among other discrepancies, information gathered on “selectors,” or particular search terms in an investigation, were not properly documented; in addition, the NSA’s internal query tools designed to automatically prevent the processing of queries involving any Americans associated with the selectors ultimately failed to do so, thus allowing Americans to be investigated and monitored.