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Saturday, June 15, 2024

FBI Illegally Spied on J6ers, BLM and 19,000 Political Donors

'Overall, FISC spotted more than 278,000 improper uses of Section 702 by the FBI...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The FBI abused a law designed to prevent foreign terrorism by using it to spy on numerous political groups, including Black Lives Matter, Jan. 6 protestors and more than 19,000 political donors, according to a recently unsealed opinion from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The heavily redacted FISC opinion, written in April 2022 but only released last week, was an assessment of the FBI’s supposed reforms to how it uses Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—a law that allows U.S. government agencies to target suspected foreign terrorists and spies outside the U.S. for intelligence purposes.

While the FBI has made reforms on paper, it continues to abuse Section 702 in practice, FISC found.

Among the abuses spotted by FISC was the widespread surveillance of “thousands of names within the FBI systems in relation to the Capitol breach investigation.” Apparently, the people searched had made overseas phone calls, and the FBI thought there was a foreign connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, election protests.

However, FISC said the FBI’s surveillance queries “were not reasonably likely to retrieve foreign intelligence information or evidence of crime.”

Likewise, the FBI ran numerous queries on protestors and rioters from the summer of 2020—also apparently to see if there was a foreign connection. Again, FISC noted that these searches “were not reasonably likely to retrieve foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime.”

Then, there’s the FBI’s surveillance of more than 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign.

“The analyst who ran the query advised that the campaign was a target of foreign influence, but [the FBI’s national security division] determined that only eight [targets] had sufficient ties to foreign influence activities to comply with the querying standard,” FISC said in its opinion.

Overall, FISC spotted more than 278,000 improper uses of Section 702 by the FBI.

While the FBI’s abuse continues, there’s at least an emerging bipartisan consensus that Section 702 should be reformed to require a warrant to spy on Americans.

Chris Wray told us we can sleep well at night because of the FBI’s so-called FISA reforms. But it just keeps getting worse,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said last week in reaction to the opinion.

His colleague, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., made a similar statement.

“The FBI says that they have instituted new procedures to make this kind of abuse impossible. They have made that promise before,” he said. “Without significant changes to the law to prevent this abuse, I will oppose the reauthorization of this authority.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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