Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz called out FBI Director Christopher Wray out for dodging a question by a Democrat about the agency’s FISA searches at a hearing on Wednesday.
Democratic California Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Wray if the FBI is “purchasing location data from commercial sources without a warrant” at the House Judiciary Committee hearing. Wray responded that it was a complex issue and he could not completely answer it, requesting to have his staff follow up.
“This is an area that requires a little more precision and context for me to be able to answer that fully so let me have my staff follow back up to you so that I make sure that I don’t leave something important out.” Wray said.
“The American people need to understand what just happened,” Gaetz said during his questioning time. “My Democrat colleague just asked the director of the FBI whether or not they are buying information about our fellow Americans, and the answer is well we’ll just have to get back to you on that, sounds really complicated.’”
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Section 702 enables U.S. intelligence agencies to gather data on Americans without a warrant, and the FBI has been found on multiple occasions to abuse the process.
“The FBI had 3.4 million backdoor searches of the FISA database without a warrant in 2021,” Lofgren asserted. “Can you say whether the FBI is continuing to search the FISA database without a warrant for Americans?”
“Well, if you’re asking about our use of 702 queries … there is no warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment for those queries as fairly well settled,” Wray responded.
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