FIRST ON FOX: GOP Rep. Darin LaHood said he believes that he was unlawfully monitored by the FBI, which was made public during a House Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday featuring top intelligence officials.
During the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s hearing on worldwide threats Thursday, LaHood, R-Ill.,who leads the working group on Section 702 renewal and oversight for the committee, said that he believed he was the unnamed lawmaker unlawfully monitored by the FBI.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) declassified a 2021 report in December in which it detailed abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). The report stated that the FBI under Section 702 of FISA inappropriately searched the data for an unnamed Member of Congress and local political organizations to determine if they had ties to foreign intelligence.
“As Darin LaHood announced, he believes that he is the unidentified congressman that was improperly FISA-queried. In this public statement, he personifies the fears and mistrust many in America have about the FBI’s leadership. They have permitted consistent abuse of a program that was supposed to protect Americans from foreign threats,” Chairman Mike Turner said in a statement to Fox News Digital.
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The ODNI report states that there was one instance in which the “FBI queried the names of a local political party” and another event that “an [intelligence analyst] conducted approximately [redacted] queries…using only the name of a U.S. congressman.”
The report specifically stated that the queries were “noncompliant” with the law and “overly broad.”
Section 702 of FISA authorizes the government “to conduct targeted surveillance of foreign persons located outside the United States, with the compelled assistance of electronic communication service providers, to acquire foreign intelligence information.”
However, reports such as the ODNI one declassified in December, reveal that information related to American citizens is often unconstitutionally searched and used by federal intelligence agencies.
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Last month, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray demanding more information about the “backdoor searches” conducted by the agency that were revealed in the report.
“Over the years Section 702 has led to the abundant collection of information related to Americans and information that is not foreign intelligence. While concerning, matters are made worse by continuous reports that federal agents are querying the 702 database specifically looking for information related to Americans. These ‘backdoor searches’ are a violation of the Fourth Amendment and cannot continue,” Biggs wrote.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Fox News Digital on the identity of the congressman.
The worldwide threats hearing includes witnesses: Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence; William Burns, Director of the CIA; General Paul Nakasone, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service; Chris Wray, Director of the FBI; and Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
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