On Tuesday, Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ), issued the following statement in response to new reports revealing the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) continued abuse of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The report, issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, indicates that FBI personnel repeatedly used “backdoor searches” to sift through warrantlessly collected FISA data to obtain information relating to U.S. persons, including an unnamed Member of Congress and local political organizations.
FISA 702 authorizes the government to intercept electronic communications of non-U.S. persons who are located outside of the United States. But these collections often return information related to American citizens, and reports show that information is often inappropriately and unconstitutionally used by federal intelligence agencies. During the last reauthorization of FISA 702, Congressman Biggs supported an amendment to require a warrant to access 702 data relating to U.S. persons. However, the amendment failed, and unconstitutional searches were allowed to continue. Section 702 is set to expire on December 31, 2023, and conversations regarding sunsetting the statute are underway.
“The FBI has crossed the rubicon,” said Congressman Biggs. “I will not allow the FBI to misuse privileged spying powers to conduct rogue surveillance on innocent Americans.
“I have called for serious reforms or full repeal of FISA for years. Yet, the FBI and federal intelligence agencies use scare tactics to convince Congress that these unchecked powers are the only method available to protect our nation from harm. Well, every American should be scared to know federal agents are spying on them, even if they have nothing to hide.
“In January, I reintroduced the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act—legislation that fully repeals FISA, prohibits warrantless surveillance of Americans, and holds accountable any federal official who violates the law—to help prevent this misconduct.
“How much longer must we watch the FBI brazenly spy on Americans before we strip it of its unchecked authority? Make no mistake—actors within the FBI and other similar federal agencies who continue to conduct unlawful and unconstitutional surveillance of Americans will be brought to justice.”