EXCLUSIVE: 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.”
The opinion, from November 2020, detailed the FBI’s “apparent widespread violations” of privacy rules in conducting surveillance under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but was not related to the controversial FISA warrant against Page.
“We write to request information about the FBI’s illegal spying activities,” Jordan, of Ohio, and Biggs, of Arizona, wrote to Wray Tuesday.
Section 702 authorizes the attorney general and the director of National Intelligence to jointly authorize warrantless surveillance of non-U. S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, subject to limitations.
The section requires the adoption of “targeting procedures” to ensure that acquired information is limited to non-U. S. persons to prevent the “intentional acquisition” of U.S. domestic communications, according to U.S. Code. The section also requires the use of minimization and querying procedures, specifically requiring that the government obtain a FISC order for any review of Section 702 query results in criminal investigations unrelated to national security.