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Rick Scott to FBI Director: Unlawful Spying on American Citizens Demands Accountability

Last week, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray on the recent revelations that FBI employees frequently and repeatedly abused the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Section 702 to spy on American citizens with unlawful, warrantless searches.

In his letter, Scott called on Wray to be transparent about any accountability or action taken against the employees or action to prevent further abuses and restore public trust, instead of lobbying Congress to renew the Section 702 authorities without substantial reforms that are clearly needed.

The letter is below.

Dear Director Wray:

While Americans want to have trust in their government, they are sadly losing faith in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) due to a growing list of abuses that have come to light committed by the employees of your agency and the apparent lack of public accountability. The most recent revelations of frequent and repeated abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Section 702 authorities by the FBI raise concerns for the American public that there are no limits—legal or otherwise—on your investigative powers even when it comes to spying on American citizens. The American public’s perception of a lack of accountability is dangerous and must be immediately addressed, and it is unfair to hardworking employees of the FBI who are committed to doing the right thing.

In the face of these rampant abuses, it was disappointing that you are lobbying Congress to renew the Section 702 authorities without substantial reforms, and without public disclosure of accountability. If you agree with me that the hundreds of thousands of unlawful, warrantless searches of U.S. citizen information your agency has conducted under Section 702 are entirely unacceptable, to attempt to regain the American public’s trust, please explain the accountability for those rogue agents who conducted those illegal queries.

See also  Florida Attorney General Announces Arrest of Group Suspected of Stealing Nearly $250,000 from Seniors Through 'Grandparent Scams'

If you seek to rebuild the trust you have lost with the American public, I urge you to answer this question and provide specific information to me about particular actions you have taken against these known violators of Americans’ constitutional rights within your agency. In your letter to senators dated July 21, 2023, you broadly described “accountability measures” you have implemented in recent years following reports of your agency’s rampant abuses of Section 702. You further described a range of “possible” disciplinary actions that could be implemented through “a new policy of escalating consequences” for agency personnel. However, your letter is short on the particular disciplinary actions taken. This does nothing to demonstrate actual accountability for prior misconduct that has taken place.

Please provide my office with a copy of the “new policy of escalating consequences” you referenced in your July 21 letter, along with any other pertinent memoranda or guidelines related to that “new policy.” Additionally, please identify the total number and type of personnel disciplinary actions that have been taken by the agency within the past 36 months in response to the numerous abuses of Section 702 databases by your employees.

The American people and their elected representatives in Congress want to believe in their government and deserve nothing short of full transparency and accountability from the FBI.

I would appreciate your prompt attention to these requests.

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  • Florida Daily

    Florida Daily offers news, insights and analysis as we cover the most important issues in the state, from education, to business and politics.

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