In the United States, the FBI was exposed in spying on its own citizens and politicians
Using its power, the FBI illegally reviewed US foreign intelligence data for espionage purposes.
Yesterday the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court published the conclusion dated April 2022, which exposes the FBI’s misuse of the so-called Section 702 database – a huge array of message records and other information used by the FBI and the NSA.
The court found that the FBI improperly requested the database created under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act more than 287,000 times in 2020 and 2021. The FBI’s searches targeted demonstrators on January 6 who were arrested protesting the police killing of black George Floyd and about 19,000 American investors from an unnamed campaign in the US Congress.
Section 702 gives the US government the right to collect messages from foreign targets. Americans’ conversations can get into the database when they communicate with someone outside the US.
The FBI may search the database only when agents have reason to believe that such a search will yield information relevant to foreign intelligence targets or evidence of crimes. An NSA audit in late 2022 uncovered multiple instances of FBI misuse of the database to search American citizens, including U.S. Congressman Darin Lahoud, a member of the U.S. Republican Party (Donald Trump’s party).
After auditing and publishing the court’s decision, the FBI said the abuse was the result of a “misunderstanding” and promised to fix the problem. Despite this, Section 702 expires at the end of 2023 without renewal by Congress, which could stop the FBI from misusing the database.