The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has found that the FBI continues to violate rules that seek to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, as revealed by FISA Chief Justice James Boasberg.
The ruling was issued in December but ended up being declassified on Friday, after reviewing several emails that were compiled without a court order.
According to Just The News, an audit conducted in July 2019 found 87 cases in which the FBI consulted “raw FISA acquired,” evidence meaning that agents or others at the FBI “were not reasonably likely to retrieve foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime” and so risked violating Americans’ privacy without a legal basis.
“There still appear to be widespread violations of the querying standard by the FBI,” Boasberg concluded, citing examples where NSA records were searched for unnecessary or illegal reasons.
Boasberg also mentioned the concern caused by a group of records involving 16,000 people, rejecting the FBI’s argument that they were necessary and legal.
The ruling, which was summarized in an elaborate 83-page document, was part of a regular certification process for the use of surveillance techniques enabled by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
As Fox News pointed out, such techniques include a warrantless surveillance program, which enables the government to collect phone calls and emails from citizens who are abroad.
Although the surveillance targeted only those abroad, it was reported that the searches conducted by the FBI were not intended to return foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime, which are the regulatory requirements for the use of the database by the FBI.
On Sept. 1, the Department of Justice announced that reforms will be implemented at the FBI in response to allegations of several mistakes made by the FBI, as well as allegations of several mistakes made during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
According to Reuters, Attorney General William Barr issued two memos describing some changes that will be implemented at the FBI, one is the creation of an internal audit office that will be sufficiently rigorous in monitoring its activities.
The other memo specifies that in order for the FBI to monitor communications from an elected candidate, political campaign, or public official, the director must first file an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA), which must also meet certain requirements.
“The additional reforms announced today, which we worked on closely with the Attorney General’s Office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to bolster its compliance program,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement on Sept. 1.