Intelligence Community MYTH: The FBI has new minimization procedures that have dramatically reduced the numbers of U.S. person queries in the Section 702 database and the potential for violations. No fixes in the law are needed.
FACT: Even FBI Director Christopher Wray’s brag that refinements in internal procedures have reduced the number of warrantless searches for Americans’ communications to approximately 204,000 queries of Americans’ personal communications per year is alarming. The number of people who have been victimized by these civil rights violations is equal to the population of many medium-sized U.S. cities. As Sen. Mike Lee says, “That number should be zero. Every ‘non-compliant’ search violates an American’s constitutional rights.”
Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School dismissed the FBI’s recent boasts about the reduced number of improper queries into Americans’ private information, likening that boast to “a bank robber saying we’re hitting smaller banks.”
The many broken promises of the FBI should leave the bureau with little room for a “trust me” clean reauthorization of Section 702. Consider the government’s long history of abuses. In just the last few years, in violation of its own rules:
Other actions outside Section 702, such as the wide-ranging politically motivated investigation of “radical traditional Catholics,” further reveal an FBI appetite for playing politics. Nobody in their right mind should want the FBI to have warrantless access to their private sensitive personal communications and data.