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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Rep. Darin LaHood Says FBI Spied on Him

'All the more stunning considering he sits on one of the committees that oversees the intelligence agencies...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USARep. Darin LaHood, R-Ill., said Thursday that he has been the target of warrantless surveillance by the FBI.

LaHood’s revelation come on the heels of a newly in released government audit, which said that the FBI searched a U.S. congressman’s name in data obtained via Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

“I have had the opportunity to review the classified summary of this violation, and it’s my opinion that the member of Congress was, in fact, me,” LaHood said Thursday.

FISA’s Section 702 allows the U.S. government to target foreigners outside the U.S. for intelligence purposes. This often results in the collection of Americans’ communications.

The FBI’s warrantless surveillance of LaHood was discovered by the non-profit watchdog Demand Progress. The organization said in a statement that the FBI’s actions were “all the more stunning considering he sits on one of the committees that oversees the intelligence agencies—and has been designated by congressional leadership as the intelligence committee’s point person in charge of the 702 reauthorization.”

“If the administration wants to see this authority reauthorized at all, it must embrace a complete overhaul of privacy protections for all Americans—members of Congress and beyond,” Demand Progress said.

Despite being spied on, LaHood said Thursday he still supports reauthorizing Section 702, subject to privacy reforms. He is part of a working group to reform Section 702.

During Thursday’s hearing, FBI Director Chris Wray said many reforms have already been made. The audit about the surveillance of LaHood is for the period from Dec. 1, 2019, to May 31, 2020.

“No violations are defensible … But what’s important to note about that is all the audit predates significant reforms,” he said.

A report last year from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed that the number of searches conducted by the FBI of Americans’ communications doubled from 2020 to 2021.

According to the report, the FBI used its Section 702 powers to search the data of roughly 3.4 million U.S. people in 2021—up from 1.3 million a year before. The report only provides statistics for 2020 and 2021.

Wray said Thursday that the number of searches of Americans has since decreased by about 93%. A report on the FBI’s use of Section 702 is set to be released next month.

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

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