GOP representatives demand “full accounting of the approximately 3,394,053 U.S. person queries conducted by the FBI in calendar year (CY) 2021.”
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted warrantless “person queries” on over 3.3 million Americans from December 2020 through November 2021, according to a May 25 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray written by Republican Ohio Reps. Jim Jordan and Mike Turner.
- Data regarding the queries were collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which does not require a warrant.
- The letter indicated the number of Americans spied on by the FBI “more than doubled from the prior year” after Joe Biden took office.
- In the letter, Jordan and Turner asked FBI Director Wray to explain why his agency had gathered personal information on over 3.3 million Americans without a warrant.
- The representatives called for a “full accounting of the approximately 3,394,053 U.S. person queries conducted by the FBI in calendar year (CY) 2021.”
- Roughly 1.9 million queries were done as part of investigations into attempts by foreign cyber attackers to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure.
- Jordan and Turner asked the FBI to provide the information “no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 7.”
WHAT ELSE REPS. JORDAN AND TURNER ASKED THE FBI FOR:
- In their letter to the FBI, Reps. Jordan and Turner asked the FBI for the “total number of unique query terms that are a U.S. citizen, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, an unincorporated association, or a corporation which is incorporated in the United States. If the FBI does not have the capability to identify the number of unique query terms, provide an explanation as to why.”
- They also asked for an “explanation of the facts and circumstances of the approximately 1.9 million U.S person queries that are apparently the result of an FBI investigation into alleged Russian hackers who sought to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure.”
READ THE LETTER FROM REPS. JORDAN AND TURNER:
- The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) grants the FBI authority to gather foreign intelligence information on “non-U.S. persons” who are “reasonably believed to be outside of the United States.”
- However, Section 702 of the act allows the FBI and other intel agencies to conduct searches, without a warrant, against American citizens who interacted with foreign targets.