Wray Calls For Restoration Of Section 702 of FISA: ‘Potential For A Coordinated Attack’ In U.S.
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FBI Director Christopher Wray called for the restoration of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the federal government to gather communications from non-Americans overseas on U.S.-based platforms, but which has also been abused in the past to monitor American citizens.

The much-scrutinized law is up for renewal but failed to pass a key hurdle Wednesday amid internal debate among Republicans about adding adequate protections against future abuse of the law.

Wray, speaking to Congress, cited his “immediate concern” being “individuals or small groups [who] will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home.”

“But now increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, akin to the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall a couple weeks ago,” Wray added.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has pointed out how FISA has been used successfully to combat dangers to the U.S.:

Section 702-acquired information revealed: Insights that have informed the U.S. Government’s understanding of the Chinese origins of a chemical used to synthesize fentanyl; foreign actors’ illicit plans to smuggle methamphetamine across the U.S. border; the quantities and potency of drugs, including fentanyl, destined for illegal transfer to the United States, as well as specific smuggling techniques used to avoid detection; and a foreign narcotics trafficker’s purchase of a vast quantity of pills for transfer to the United States. Section 702-acquired information has been used to identify multiple foreign ransomware attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure. This intelligence positioned the U.S. Government to respond to and mitigate these events, and in some instances prevent significant attacks on U.S. networks.

Section 702-acquired information related to sanctioned foreign adversaries was used in U.S. Government efforts to stop weapons of mass destruction components from reaching foreign actors. Section 702 has identified threats to U.S. troops and disrupted planned terrorist attacks at home and abroad, and contributed to the successful operation against Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2022.

Though information gained from Section 702 has played a key role in national security efforts, it has also come under heavy fire from those concerned about its potential use to gather information on American citizens. The most notorious incident involved then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016 when intelligence gained from Section 702 was used to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Trump encouraged House Republicans this week to oppose reinstating FISA. “KILL FISA, IT WAS ILLEGALLY USED AGAINST ME AND MANY OTHERS. THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!!!” he wrote on Truth Social on Wednesday afternoon.

Nineteen House Republicans blocked the procedural measure to bring the matter to a vote on Wednesday. Critics of the bill said the revisions spearheaded by Republicans were not enough to ensure that the law isn’t abused going forward.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said after the vote Wednesday, “We will regroup and reformulate another plan. We cannot allow Section 702 of FISA to expire. It’s too important to national security.”

“We have to strike the balance government always does. You have to … jealously guard the fundamental liberty of American people,” Johnson added. “You protect the liberty, but at the same time, you got to protect your security. And we can’t allow a critical tool like this to just expire and go out of use.”

 9/11 Families United, an organization representing the families of 9/11 victims, stated, “It is our belief that the failure to renew Section 702 would be detrimental to American national security and would put Americans at risk of new terrorist attacks.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Wray Calls For Restoration Of Section 702 of FISA: ‘Potential For A Coordinated Attack’ In U.S.