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FISA Court: FBI Spying Violated Fourth Amendment

FISA Court: FBI Spying Violated Fourth Amendment

As disclosed this week, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2018 concluded the FBI’s spying operations violated Americans’ privacy rights.

The court ruling cited improper use of Section 702, an Internet surveillance database used primarily by the NSA.

Section 702 is designed to collect foreign intelligence from international phone calls and emails regarding cyber threats, terrorism suspects, and other security risks.

By law, the database can be used only to find evidence of a crime or to obtain foreign intelligence. Names of American citizens caught up in search queries are generally blacked out when information is shared among federal agencies.

Privacy advocates view the system as an unnecessarily broad tool that grants access to Americans’ personal information without a warrant.

According to court documents, FBI agents used Section 702 to vet their own personnel and sources. In at least one case, an FBI contractor accessed the system to find information about his relatives and coworkers.

The investigation revealed tens of thousands of improper database queries in 2017 and 2018.

“The court accordingly finds that the FBI’s querying procedures and minimization procedures are not consistent with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” wrote FISA Court Judge James Boasberg.

This issue was made public Tuesday after the Trump administration failed to convince a secret appeals court that improving the database to protect Americans’ privacy would make it harder for the FBI to address national security threats.

The FBI has agreed to improve privacy protections, implement new procedures, and create a compliance review team, but the case casts doubt on whether intelligence agencies are actually complying with the privacy procedures mandated by Congress.

The disclosure “reveals serious failings in the FBI’s backdoor searches, underscoring the need for the government to seek a warrant before searching through mountains of private data on Americans,” argues Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

President Trump signed a six-year renewal of Section 702 in 2018.

Author’s Note: It’s not a surprise that the FBI has access to our phone numbers and emails. What is surprising is that the courts are starting to rule publicly against the agency’s surveillance methods.

Hopefully this case will lead to real change, including clear privacy laws for intelligence agencies and law enforcement.

Editor’s Note: As a former intelligence officer I can tell you that a database like this on Americans should NOT be collected. It is enormously tempting to expand the use of the data, then expand the collection slightly, and so on, until the FBI and NSA have data on every parts of our lives.

As I have said many times – It is not the function of a government to spy on its citizens.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Carol

    Scumbocrats breaking the law as usual for political gain or money. Nothing new here.

    Reply
    • John

      I could care less what they see. I’ve done nothing to worry about. only crooks would have a problem with it.

      Reply
      • RIC

        It matters because even if you have nothing to hide, there could be some people who would rather the government didn’t know if someone had an abortion or had surgery on their genital region or did something foolish in their youth. There are many personal things that the government does not need to know, but if they are recording all our telephone conversations or messaging apps it should stop. We are protected from illegal search and seizure by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

        Reply
        • Joe Gilbertson

          What if what you have to “hide” is a great idea for a company, or an exercise technique that might make you wealthy. Or perhaps knowledge of a crime that someone powerful has committed. Just because you have something you want hidden doesn’t mean it is something to be ashamed of. Lack of privacy means that other people can use your own resources against you, especially in a age where information is king. Another example, you may lose control of information you really want kept private. For example, and advertiser might callously start sending you sham cures for cancer when you haven’t even told your family about it. Privacy isn’t just about having the right to cheat on your wife…

          Reply
  2. Val

    The FBI and CIA were honored institutions, until corrupt Presidents and politicians violated the rule of law, and had evil people comply to their nefarious scenes to destroy America as we know it. Those once honored institutions are now ridiculed. Of course this is the Socialist way!!!’

    Reply
    • Rich

      The CIA has had dirty laundry for decades . . . . my first encounter was Air America, a wholly owned “subsidiary” of the CIA that operated a drug operations in Vietnam and back to the USA. This was when opiate based drugs took over the inner-cities.

      The FBI, after we’ve seen how Mueller ran the Inquisition, has it’s own dirty laundry for the years he was the “bag man” for the clinton-crime-family, the job comey inherited when he took over as Director

      Reply
      • Marti

        True

        Reply
      • Joe Gilbertson

        Worked there for a long time, and yes there has always been dirty laundry. But before, it was always enthusiastic officers doing illegal things to help the U.S. against other countries. I thought the Iran Contra thing was actually a brilliant tradeoff.

        But now its CIA political appointees (I’m convinced it is not the career people) acting against the President of the United States on a purely political basis. This is a disturbing development.

        Reply
  3. JC

    We would all appreciate the DoJ charging those that abused this with the crimes that were fashioned to circumvent or else there is no justice. Americans are accustomed to real justice not that of allowing some to escape the hands of the law. In other words, charge those that cheated with appropriate crimes!

    Reply
  4. Pj

    FBI, they knew it was wrong. They blinding went with it. They were probably promise big money to betray America’s laws. Obama was not for America. Still trying to destroy America. Just what is the DOJ going to do with Obama and his administration? NOT A THING! Treason! John Kerry , Logan act. Obama and Hillary with the rest of the Democrat party are March for Nazi Germany to return. You lazy American people really don’t understand or want to understand just how dangerous these people are. You know what socialism and Nazi Germany means?

    Reply
    • TERRY BRATTON

      you are spot on !! They will never punish money or power !! George Soros can feel free to do whatever SATAN tells him to do !!

      Reply
  5. Jack Saylor

    After three years of watching the FBI, Department of Justice & the so-called intelligence community try & destroy a dulley elected President & disenfranchise 65 million voter’s while supporting the party ( Democrats) of slavery & Jim Crowe should be all the American people need to know. The Feds will do whatever it takes to spy on law abiding citizens, gun owners, free speech advocates & the like while ignoring Intercity gangs & domestic terrorist groups like the brown shirts of the Democratic party ANTIFA.
    I love my country but don’t trust my government. JDS

    Reply
  6. Cheryle R

    And nothing will be done about it. What good is a court of law if these scumbags continue to get away with all their illegal operations? Please re-iterate, are we really a “free” country?

    Reply
  7. THOMAS

    I have no Trust in the FBI or the CIA … they all are CRIMINALS ! At one time years ago they were respected and honorable but those days are long past .

    Reply
  8. JOHN DUMAS

    They can not plead ignorance. The minimum requirement BEFORE training is a bachelor’s degree.

    Reply
  9. George Peabody

    Obama was not for America. Still trying to destroy America. Just what is the DOJ going to do with Obama and his administration? Treason! John Kerry , Logan act. Obama and Hillary with the rest of the Democrat party. You lazy American people really don’t understand or want to understand just how dangerous these people are. You know what socialism means?

    ARREST OBAMAS, CLINTONS, SOROS, ET.AL., and strip Citizenship and wealth and DEPORT to Haiti!!
    DECLASSIFY EVERYTHING !
    President Trump should declassify EVERYTHING related to 9/11/2001; and declassify all Clinton’s and Bush’s and Obama’s lies and TREASON up to 2019.
    And, declassify EVERYTHING related to murders of Americans at Ruby Ridge, and WACO by Clinton’s FBI, et.al.
    AND, DECLASSIFY everything from WWII and the USS Liberty 1967 Six-Day War Jews attack on Americans’s ship; and the lies to start war in Viet Nam, Iraq, Lebanon, all Middle East Wars, etc, etc,!
    THEN, we can hang Clintons, Bushes, Obamas, Soros, Netenyahoo9/11, et.al.; Pull out of U.N. and parasite Israel.
    PARDON for Spc. Michael New who defied crooked Pres. Clinton’s unConstitutional PPD25 putting US Military under U.N. Control
    Pardon all innocent US Military who are persecuted by Obama & Clinton, et.al.
    Deport illegal aliens; build the wall!

    Bingo!  Good clarification of cause and effect.
    Someone also pointed out that our Christian God INSPIRED Constitution FOR the USA IS ONLY ADEQUATE government for a good and moral people,  When the people are lost from God, freedom is lost, and dictators, devils, socialism, communism, voodoo, ISLAM, etc. will step in to bring the people under their control.

    Reply
  10. Mike

    Did not one of you idiots above read the article? The Trump administration was advocating for the continuation of these “spying practices”, but the court said no. You just have to assume that Democrats or Obama is to blame for whatever… Totally dumb! (see words below):

    This issue was made public Tuesday after the Trump administration failed to convince a secret appeals court that improving the database to protect Americans’ privacy would make it harder for the FBI to address national security threats.

    Reply
  11. GEORGE EADY

    this being the case I have been spyed on for over 25 years . not because of what I have done but they have. face book time line . under phots then your photos http:www.faceboom.com/eadygeorgem this will open your eyes on how bad it is and how long it has been. and WHERE THE HELL DOES ONE FIND A LAWER . WHEN IT IS THE SYSTEM IT SELF THAT CROSSED ALL LINES

    Reply

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