Author Topic: FBI Searched Jan. 6 Rioters and George Floyd Demonstrators in Spy Database  (Read 113 times)

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FBI Searched Jan. 6 Rioters and George Floyd Demonstrators in Spy Database
Agency used foreign spying law to gather intelligence in what one lawmaker called ‘shocking abuses’
By Dustin Volz
and Byron Tau
Updated May 19, 2023 5:23 pm ET

WASHINGTON—The Federal Bureau of Investigation improperly searched a trove of intelligence gathered through a foreign spying law for information on people suspected of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the George Floyd protests, a court opinion released Friday showed.

Despite a lack of evidence, the FBI performed more than a dozen searches of raw foreign intelligence data related to people believed to be involved in the Capitol riot to hunt for foreign ties, the court said. Separately, three Jan. 6 searches were conducted that used more than 23,000 search terms such as an email account to look for evidence of foreign influence in relation to an unidentified group involved in the riot. The Justice Department later determined there was insufficient factual support for the searches.

FBI analysts also searched for information related to 133 people arrested in the aftermath of the protests prompted by the killing of Floyd, a Black man who died pleading for his life while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes. Due to redactions in the opinion, it wasn’t clear whether the searches related to individuals protesting racism and police brutality, or to counterprotesters. A senior FBI official declined to clarify. Four Minneapolis police officers have been convicted of crimes in connection with Floyd’s death, including Derek Chauvin, found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 22-and-1/2 years in prison.

In a separate incident, the bureau ran identifying terms of 19,000 American donors to an unnamed congressional campaign through the foreign intelligence database. An official said the search involved a congressional candidate and not a current member of Congress. A later review by Justice Department lawyers concluded that only eight of the thousands of terms had a plausible connection to foreign government activity.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/fbi-improperly-searched-spy-database-for-information-on-americans-court-says-2f12bcd?mod=djemalertNEWS
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