On Wednesday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray declined to answer a question from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) about the possibility that President Trump might be under surveillance.
Questioning Wray before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Paul asked: “Do you think that it’s possible that the president’s conversations with international leaders are in the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] database?”
Wray replied, “I’m not sure there’s anything I could speak to in this setting.”
Paul responded, citing a Washington Post report that claimed there were 1,500 times then-President Obama was minimized. “Do you think it’s possible that Congress — that members of Congress are in the FISA database if we talk to international leaders?” Paul asked.
Again, Wray avoided answering the question. “Well, Senator, I am quite confident that we are conducting ourselves in a manner consistent with the law and the Constitution that’s subject to extensive oversight,” he said. “I don’t know that I can speak to every hypothetical about whether there have been [such] situations.”
Paul then turned to the surveillance of journalists: “Do you think it’s possible that journalists’ conversations, if they are talking with international journalists overseas or if they mention that they’re doing a story on Al-Baghdadi or another terrorist’s name, do you think there is a possibility that journalists’ conversations are in the FISA database?
“I can’t speak to specific hypotheticals,” Wray responded, with Paul cutting him off saying, “The answer is yes.”
Paul later pointed out that “while the FBI, by and large, is full of good people yourself included, you have had some bad apples. You had Peter Strzok and his girlfriend talking about trying to bring the president down. You have had people bringing their politics to work.”
Paul commented Wray’s refusal to answer his questions on Twitter. “Is NSA or FBI listening in on our President? We know bad actors exist within intel community. REFORM NEEDED NOW.”
“The concern of us who want more control over what the government can do with our data is because as Madison said men are not angels,” Paul said in a follow-up tweet. “That’s why we have the Constitution.”