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Top Republicans query FBI on warrantless wiretapping of Americans – Metro US

Top Republicans query FBI on warrantless wiretapping of Americans

FILE PHOTO: FBI headquarters building is seen in Washington
FILE PHOTO: FBI headquarters building is seen in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two top Republican members of Congress, Jim Jordan and Michael Turner, wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday to ask for information about the nearly 3.4 million queries the agency made to a database of information collected without warrants.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in late April the FBI had made nearly triple the queries between December 2020 and November 2021 as the previous year, with some 1.9 million queries done as part of investigations into attempts by foreign cyber attackers to compromise U.S. critical infrastructure, like U.S. power plants.

The queries were made to a database that contains information collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which does not require a warrant.

“As Congress continues to evaluate the potential reauthorization of Section 702, we must have all necessary information to assess the executive branch’s use of the existing authorities,” wrote Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Turner, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Jordan and Turner asked Wray for a “full accounting of the approximately 3,394,053 U.S. persons queries” and the number of preliminary or full investigations into any U.S. citizens that the FBI initiated as a result of the queries.

The lawmakers also asked for more information about the alleged Russian hackers, including how many U.S. victims were identified and informed that they were compromised.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Chris Reese)

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