Remember FBI Director Wray’s response to the Durham report was that everything had already been fixed.
Nothing has actually been fixed.
The FBI improperly used surveillance powers to conduct searches for information on a U.S. senator, a state lawmaker and a state judge, according to court records released Friday as part of a public records request.
The surveillance court outlined three examples of instances where FBI personnel conducted searches of “sensitive query terms,” like those of U.S. public officials or candidates, without first seeking approval from the FBI’s deputy director.
“In June 2022, an analyst conducted four queries of Section 702 information using the last names of a U.S. Senator and a state senator, without further limitation,” the opinion states.
While the two were believed to be targets of “a specific foreign intelligence service,” the National Security Division at the Department of Justice determined the FBI did not meet the needed standard for running such a query.
And in October of that year, “a Staff Operations Specialist ran a query using the Social Security number of a state judge who “had complained to [the] FBI about alleged civil right violations perpetrated by a municipal chief of police.”
Analysts are able to use their own initiative to target a Senator. That says it all. What was supposed to be a secure and closely supervised tool for going after foreign enemies continues to be used to surveil domestic political opponents. Under conditions where these agencies are heavily politicized, how hard would it be for a political party to gain access to such materials? I assume that it’s happened more than once already.
There’s a long secret history here and we only know some of the more recent phenomena involving Trump and Russiagate, but FISA abuses long predate Trump. We know, for example, that members of Congress were targeted around the debate over the Iran Deal. There’s been no reckoning over that, let alone over the mass FISA abuses toward the end of the Biden administration.
The Durham report amounted to nearly nothing, the tiny tip of a giant iceberg. And the iceberg keeps on growing.