A new report recently released by the Wall Street Journal has revealed that the FBI may have improperly conducted searches on the data of 3.4 million U.S citizens without their knowledge or consent.
The news, which was released on Friday, coincided with an annually-issued report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While the Wall Street Journal states that the FBI did not necessarily use the data illegally or improperly, it should bring up concerns amongst members of Congress.
“My understanding is that some of this was about researching and doing an investigation into potential hacking, but I will get you more from the FBI after this,” Jen Psaki, chief White House propagandist recently said, trying to do her best to spin the issue.
Other senior U.S officials cited the ongoing war in Ukraine spinning it to say that they were researching potential “victims of Russian hacking.” According to available statistics, this was the largest amount of people searched by the FBI dating all the way back to 1978, the year the Foreign Intelligence Act was passed, which is the law, specifically section 702, the government cites to surveil American citizens.
Adding more background to the nature of the searches, it is reported that if an individual has been searched numerous times by the FBI, they will be counted numerous times, not individually adding to the total number of searches.
According to the WSJ, the senior officials stated that “half the searches that were probed were related to an alleged Russian threat to hack critical infrastructure in the US.”
Section 702 is set to expire under its current form next year.