Intelligence Community Myth: “The government is neither intentionally nor inadvertently targeting Americans for surveillance through Section 702.”
Fact: This assertion is in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday by Richard E. DiZinno and Beth A. Williams – the two dissenters from the recent critical report on Section 702 from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). This statement by DiZinno and Williams is flatly contradicted by the PCLOB report.
In that report, the government owns up to intentional violations. The report states:
“According to the government, there have been several examples where oversight mechanisms have identified incidents involving improper intent in seeking to circumvent or violate the procedures, related rules, or statutory requirements.”
Two of these violations are from 2022. This is important because the FBI, in announcing its new “accountability” procedures, claimed that there had been no identified instances of intentional non-compliance since 2018.
We know about these four searches because they are egregious, personal misuses of Section 702 data that cannot possibly be explained away. Imagine what can happen when agents can spin serious-sounding but imagined national security justifications to look at Americans’ private data and communications.