Under the jurisdiction of the Court of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, the Section 702 database grants access to the FBI and NSA, limited to cases where potential information from foreign intelligence agencies can be obtained.
According to the court’s opinion, another FBI agent improperly accessed information about a US senator and a state senator in the controversial 702 database. The analyst knew that a specific foreign intelligence service had targeted the two lawmakers. However, the search was reviewed by the National Security Division of the Justice Department, which concluded that it did not meet the required standards.
The court notice further revealed that an FBI agent had conducted a separate search for a judge’s social security number at the state level in October of the previous year. This judge previously reported alleged civil rights violations by a city police chief. However, the results of this search were insufficient to warrant querying the database.
Notably, FBI Director Christopher Wray framed the latest FBI misconduct as a decrease in past wrongdoing. In response to the FISC notice, Wray pointed to “the 2023 FISC notice” as evidence of significant improvements in FBI compliance with Section 702 requests since implementing substantial reforms. We are committed to putting national security first while responsibly exercising our powers under Section 702.
An extensive FISA court review revealed approximately 300,000 cases of abuse between the start of 2020 and the start of 2021. Disturbingly, the report highlights that despite lacking any grounds to suspect ties to foreign governments, an FBI agent conducted 23,132 investigations of US citizens following the Jan. 6 protests on Capitol Hill.
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