“We’re committed to proactively informing the public, who entrusts us to protect our nation and our civil liberties, on the Intelligence Community’s use of key national security authorities,” said ODNI Chief of Civil Liberties, Privacy, and Transparency Ben Huebner.
Four takeaways from today’s Intelligence Community transparency report: https://t.co/0yzsp2g34y
— Ashley Gorski (@ashgorski) April 29, 2022
The report is the first time a U.S. intelligence agency has published an accounting of how the FBI scoops up data through Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FBI has been heavily criticized for abusing this process in the Trump-Russia collusion investigation and Section 702, which governs the bureau’s actions, is set to expire next year.
The NSA collects vast amounts of data from international phone calls and emails under the law, passed in the wake of 9/11, to safeguard national security. But the data is only analyzed if an intelligence agency culls it from the NSA database.
The 3.4 million figure “is certainly a large number,” a senior FBI official told reporters Friday, after the report was released. “I am not going to pretend that it isn’t.”
The majority of the searches were related to an investigation into alleged attempts by alleged Russian actors to hack into the U.S. infrastructure, senior U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.
The report does not say how many individual Americans may have had their data searched, as some queries involved the same people. Further complicating the matter is that the 3.4 million figure is at least partially based on search terms that were used, and some searches were conducted using hundreds of terms, officials said.