FBI spying on Americans nearly triples — Analysis

Under foreign surveillance, nearly 3.4 million Americans were uncovered by the FBI in 2021.

According to the US intelligence agency’s annual transparency report, on Friday the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), conducted queries about almost 3 million Americans in December 2020-2021. Although the FBI claimed it was searching for foreign hackers in its annual transparency report, civil libertarian organizations called it an “anonymous search”. “enormous”Invasion of privacy

Only the FBI made “fewer than 3,394,053”In that period of time, queries by US individuals related to the information collected under controversial authority to spy upon foreigners. The admission was made by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in the Annual Intelligence Community Transparency Report (ODNI) on Friday.

According to the report, the electronic data were collected legally under Section 702 (Ferry Intelligence Surveillance Act)

The ODNI says that the figure is approximately “a number of large batch queries related to attempts to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure by foreign cyber actors”The first half of 2021 will be the most productive. “included approximately 1.9 million query terms related to potential victims – including US persons.” 

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It is the reason for “vast majority of the increase in US person queries conducted by FBI over the prior year,”According to the ODNI, The same report stated that there were less then 1.3 million of these queries between December 2019 and November 2020.

“My understanding is that some of this was about researching and doing an investigation into potential hacking and — so — but I will get you more from the FBI after this,”Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated Friday that the report was a matter of concern when she was asked.

Reacting to the revelation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the FBI’s behavior an invasion of privacy “on an enormous scale.”

“Today’s report sheds light on the extent of these unconstitutional ‘backdoor searches,’ and underscores the urgency of the problem,” ACLU’s Ashley Gorski said in a statement. “It’s past time for Congress to step in to protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.”

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The DNI and US Attorney General can target non-US citizens located in the US under Section 702, to obtain foreign intelligence. After it was revealed that Carter Page, an FBI campaign aide, had improperly obtained warrants for spying on Donald Trump and his campaigns via FISA (Federal Information Sharing Act) process, this has brought the FISA system under fresh scrutiny. The 2020 Department of Justice Inspector General reviewed 29 FISA applications and found mistakes in all of them.

Even after querying the information of 3.4 million Americans in 2021, the FBI opened exactly zero investigations of US persons – not considered a national security threat, anyway – “based wholly or in part on an acquisition authorized under Section 702,”The ODNI report confirms.

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