Gone are the days when FBI personnel could be portrayed on film by Jimmy Stewart as brave defenders of the law and exemplars of integrity. Though many agents and rank and file staffers are no doubt excellent public servants, the top of the Bureau still has the stench of Jim Comey about it. That’s why they continue to use the FISA process for domestic probes. That is in blatant violation of the law. But this politicized FBI doesn’t care. Republicans have had enough.
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) May 4, 2021
FNC: “House Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Andy Biggs are demanding answers from FBI Director Christopher Wray after a newly declassified opinion from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court revealed ‘widespread’ FISA violations. Republicans, throughout the Trump administration, were vocal about abuses of FISA after the FBI obtained a FISA warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. Wray last year called the actions taken to obtain that FISA warrant “unacceptable” and told Congress they ‘cannot be repeated.’
“But, last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified an opinion from the FISC – the court with oversight of the FISA system – which Jordan and Biggs said revealed the FBI ‘has been seriously and systematically abusing its warrantless electronic surveillance authority.’ ”
“We write to request information about the FBI’s illegal spying activities,” Jordan, of Ohio, and Biggs, of Arizona, wrote to Wray on Tuesday. The opinion showed that the FBI “violated the querying standard” after the Justice Department audited the government’s compliance with Section 702 safeguards. The FISC determined that the “FBI’s failure to properly apply its querying standard when searching section 702-acquired information was more pervasive than was previously believed.”
The opinion stated that “the government has reported numerous incidents regarding searches of section 702 FISA information without first obtaining court permission.” The FBI used information for investigations involving “healthcare fraud, transnational organized crime, violent gangs, domestic terrorism involving racially motivated violent extremists, as well as investigations relating to public corruption and bribery.” None of those are related to foreign issues.
The FISC opinion said that “none of these queries was related to national security and they returned numerous Section 702-acquired products in response.”
“Given the seriousness of this matter for civil liberties, please provide the following information immediately,” why the Bureau was “still” “abusing” FISA; a description of instances since December 2019 when the FBI has “queried, accessed” data for purposes not related to national security; and an account on what specific actions Wray has taken to “prevent the FBI from using its section 702 authorities to surveil, investigate, or otherwise examine U.S. citizens.”