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US court found massive FBI violations of wiretapping citizens without a warrant


US court found massive FBI violations of wiretapping citizens without a warrant

280,000 illegal surveillance cases in a year, senators demand changes to bureau.

The U.S. Special Court for Intelligence Control recently published document , which accuses the FBI of abuse of power in wiretapping without a warrant. According to the court, from 2020 to early 2021, the FBI conducted more than 278 thousand illegal queries to databases containing intercepted conversations and messages of American citizens.

To wiretap without a warrant, the FBI used the Foreign Intelligence Act (FISA), which allows you to spy on aliens outside the United States in order to prevent crime and terrorism. However, this law also gives access to American communications, which the bureau has used on an unprecedented number of occasions.

The court found that the FBI systematically and widely violated the requirements of the law, without substantiating the need for wiretapping of American citizens. Among the victims of illegal wiretapping were just over a hundred protesters over the killing of George Floyd, participants in the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and almost 20,000 congressional campaign donors.

According to the court, in most cases the FBI “could not reasonably be expected to obtain foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime.” For example, in terms of congressional campaign donors, only 8 out of almost 20,000 people had sufficient connections with foreign agents.

The FBI said it has made a number of changes to its practices to prevent abuses of power, including better staff training and stricter requirements for some “sensitive” inquiries, such as those involving elected officials or journalists.

However, opponents of the FISA law believe that the government will continue to violate the rights of American citizens to the privacy of their communications if Congress does not reform. The FISA law expires at the end of this year unless it is renewed.

“These abuses have been going on for years, and despite recent changes in FBI practices, these systematic violations of American privacy require action by Congress,” Democratic spokesman Sen. Ron Wyden said.

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