GOP Rep. Darin LaHood accuses FBI of ‘wrongfully’ spying on him using FISA


Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Colo.) on Thursday accused the FBI of using the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to “wrongfully” search his name multiple times in a bureau database. 

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, the Republican lawmaker confronted FBI Director Christopher Wray about the incident that occurred sometime between December 2019 and May 2020.

He said it involved an FBI analyst improperly utilizing Section 702 of the so-called FISA program, and using “only the name of a US congressman” to gather information. 

“I have had the opportunity to review the classified summary of this violation, and it is my opinion that the member of Congress that was wrongfully queried multiple times solely by his name was in fact me,” LaHood said. 

The Colorado Republican added that based on the declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence mentioning the incident, the analyst’s queries “retrieved unminimized FISA acquired information, including Section 702 acquired products that were opened.” 

Darin LaHood
Rep. Darin LaHood accused the FBI of unlawfully spying on him using FISA.

LaHood noted that according to the report, the information acquired was not “disseminated or used in any way” and the Justice Department and the ODNI reviewed the case and “found these queries to be wholly inappropriate, not compliant and a violation because they were overly broad as constructed.”

The congressman argued that the case “is indicative of the culture that the FBI has come to expect and even tolerate” and an “egregious” violation that “degrades the trust in FISA.” 

Wray did not specifically address LaHood’s allegation, but said the FBI has made several reforms in recent years aimed at preventing FISA misuse and that the violations in the ODNI report “predate all these reforms.”

“We are absolutely committed to making sure that we show you, the rest of the members of Congress and the American people that we’re worthy of these incredibly valuable authorities,” the FBI director said.

Christopher Wray
During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, the Republican lawmaker confronted FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The Section 702 program authorizes the bulk collection of electronic communications data — such as phone calls and text messages — for intelligence officials to use as a database to search for foreign targets.

The program is set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress renews it. 

Civil liberties advocates have long protested that Section 702 infringes on Americans’ privacy by allowing US citizens’ information to get swept up in the process of collecting intelligence on foreign targets. 

Despite LaHood’s allegation Thursday, he said he is inclined to reauthorize the program with “reforms and safeguards.”


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