FBI Misuse of Communications Data Exposed by Documents Showing Americans Spying on Americans

Recently released documents show that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation abused a private database of Americans’ personal contacts.

According to a report published by Agence France-Presse, the FBI has accessed the database 278,000 times in recent years, often without any basis, according to the declassified findings of the Secret Foreign Intelligence Court.

The database includes personal emails, text messages, and other communications that the NSA claims to scan when it is spying on aliens.

Although the FBI is supposed to use the NSA database only when investigating a foreign intelligence case, according to the courts, it is used more often in domestic cases.

According to the report, FBI agents conducted selective searches during local drug and gang-related investigations, the 2020 protests over the killing of African American George Floyd, and the attack by Donald Trump supporters on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In one case, an agent searched a database of 19,000 congressional campaign sponsors.

In all of these cases, the intelligence court has said, neither foreign intelligence nor domestic crime justifies FBI access to the database.

The disclosure of the documents comes as Congress is debating an extension to Section 702, a law that allows the National Security Agency to access internet accounts hosted in the United States to monitor foreign intelligence targets. Several lawmakers say the law’s update needs to be revisited. to improve the protection of Americans’ personal information.

In this regard, the report indicated that the intelligence agencies were concerned that this would lead to obstruction of their activities, but experts in the field of legal rights and Democrats said that the findings indicate the need for urgent reforms.

Source: AFP.

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