April 21, 2024

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Ironic FBI queries of U.S. persons through FISA dropped last year after reaching record highs before 2022 elections.

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The FBI also opened “zero” investigations in U.S. persons not considered national security threats during that period.

A report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence indicated that the number of FBI queries into U.S. persons last year decreased from the year prior.

“There was a significant decline in total FBI U.S. person queries in the period December 2021-November 2022,” the report reads, according to Fox News. The FBI queried 204,000 U.S. persons under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from December 2021 through November 2022. That figure marks a 95% drop from the same period one year before.

The FBI also opened “zero” investigations in U.S. persons not considered national security threats during that period, the report indicated.

Section 702 is a provision by which the government may surveil no-U.S. citizens abroad for secure foreign intelligence. The FBI is responsible for conducting queries should U.S. citizens become involved in any investigation. A query involves the review of data the government has already collected via lawful means. 

The report attributed the marked decline in U.S. person queries to internal reforms at the bureau, including a “number of changes FBI made to its systems, processes, and training relating to U.S. persons queries.”

Section 702 is set to sunset at the end of the year and lawmakers are reportedly working to reauthorize it, albeit with revisions to “protect the American people’s privacy and civil liberties,” sought by some members of the House Intelligence Committee, per Fox.

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