Report: FBI Used Foreign Spying Law to Spy on Thousands of Americans

fbi spied on americans
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In any normal world that exists within reality and common sense, FBI Director Christopher Wray would be sweating bullets, and the criminal organization he manages would be in the process of disbanding. But we don’t live in that space, do we? So instead, the FBI keeps getting caught red-handed, violating the constitutional rights of Americans with no consequences whatsoever.

The latest revelation to hit the newsfeeds is that the FBI has been spying on Americans using a law that allows them to spy on foreigners. Usually, this sort of drop is old news, but what makes it interesting and important to pay attention to is the particular Americans the FBI was targeting.

The FBI used FISA to spy on Americans who may have been involved in the January 6 Capitol riot, and the protests that occurred after the murder of George Floyd. 

They Do What They Want

A report has dropped that indicates the FBI used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to attempt to “find foreign ties” to alleged January 6th participants with little to no evidence supporting its use. This included searching their email accounts for any foreign government influence, with, you guessed it, nothing to support the searches.

Gosh, if memory serves, that’s a big no-no somewhere in the Constitution. Interestingly the report also said similar activities were done by our nation’s premier law enforcement agency on George Floyd protestors – although it is unclear if the agency used FISA on the protestors or the counter-protestors.

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Of course, regardless of how you slice it, the government shouldn’t be using FISA to unjustly spy on citizens irrespective of their position on politically and socially charged issues. The Fourth Amendment doesn’t concern itself with the victims. Still, suppose it were to turn out that the FBI was using it against the counter-protestors. In that case, the FBI has become a political weapon against the right.

Add to the above two jaw-dropping revelations; the FBI also used FISA to search through the communications of over 19,000 donors to an unnamed congressional campaign and 400 defense contractors and security clearance holders despite having zero evidence of foreign power influence. The truth is, we basically handed the FBI this ability on a silver platter.

Go Ahead, Do Whatever You Want

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the government to target foreign nationals located abroad who are believed to be foreign agents or members of international terrorist groups. Born out of the War on Terror, this law is often touted as the reason the United States hasn’t sustained a 9/11 attack since its inception.

Under the law, the FBI can search for information on Americans without obtaining a warrant; it seems legit; I mean, in no way does that scream “abuse me!” But don’t worry; the FBI has already made adjustments, and we should relax about all this spying nonsense.

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A senior FBI official said:

“We’re not trying to hide from this stuff. This type of noncompliance is unacceptable, and that’s why we put these reforms in place to stop that from happening.”

Well, I feel better already, don’t you? The FBI isn’t trying to hide from “this stuff” because they don’t have to. 

Like Teflon, they can withstand reports of abuse year after year, decade after decade, and still stand as our shining lawman on the hill – ready to spy on, investigate, and detain us with little to no oversight.

Checks And Balances?

The report that revealed these transgressions comes from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or the FISA Court as it’s known, put in place by the Supreme Court to oversee the use of FISA. Like anything that would greatly interest the American public, the court primarily operates under a thick veil of secrecy.

The FISA Court appears exempt from any political influence; after all, it operates outside the Executive Branch. However, once their opinion is complete, it goes to the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence for declassification. 

And that is how we end up with a 127-page report on alleged inappropriate searches that count up to 278,000 times and are so heavily redacted it’s challenging to know who was infringed upon and why. How very convenient.

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Of note, FISA is set to expire at the end of this year, and some legislators claim they won’t be voting to renew the foreign surveillance law.

Republican Senator Mike Lee said:

“You can tell your department, not a chance in hell we’re going to be reauthorizing that thing without some major, major reforms.”

Not so fast, Mike; Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said of FISA that it is:

“of particular importance as it gives our national security community and warfighters irreplaceable intelligence in waging the war on terror.”

Because we’ve been winning that war, oh, wait a minute…

Bad Press

This latest report comes on the heels of two FBI whistleblowers testifying that the Biden administration used the Capitol riot cases to exaggerate the threat of domestic terrorism. These same two whistleblowers recently had their security clearances revoked.

But sure, keep telling us that the FBI isn’t weaponized. Additionally, the recently dropped and highly anticipated Durham Report showed numerous FISA wrongdoings related to the FBI’s overreliance on the Steele dossier, funded by everyone’s favorite recurring presidential candidate. 

While welcome and necessary, the recent hearings on the weaponization of the FBI are doubtful to show any tangible benefits.

Republican Congressman Jim Jordan said:

“If you’re not politically correct…you’re not in line with what they think to be the political position or the proper position, you’re the target.”

Well said, and if you think the FBI is the only government agency targeting citizens based on their political biases, you would be woefully incorrect. On the other side of the aisle, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett said:

“This select committee is a clearinghouse for testing conspiracy theories for Donald Trump to use in his 2024 presidential campaign.”

Do you mean all those conspiracy theories that ended up being true?

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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