Fri 11 February 2022:
Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich of the United States of America have claimed that the CIA is conducting a secret operation to collect bulk data on American individuals and have pushed the agency to reveal details about it.
The letter was addressed to Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, and William Burns, Director of the CIA, in April, but it was only made public on Wednesday.
“U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for new transparency about bulk surveillance conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, following the release of documents that revealed a secret bulk collection program and problems with how the agency searches and handles Americans’ information,” the lawmakers said in a statement.
There have long been concerns about what information the intelligence community collects domestically, driven in part by previous violations of Americans’ civil liberties. The CIA and National Security Agency have a foreign mission and are generally barred from investigating Americans or U.S. businesses. But the spy agencies’ sprawling collection of foreign communications often snares Americans’ messages and data incidentally.
They assert that the program is “entirely outside the statutory framework that Congress and the public believe govern this collection, and without any of the judicial, congressional or even executive branch oversight that comes from (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) collection.”
The letter does not indicate when the program was launched and whether it is still underway.
Congress created the FISA in 1978 to authorize and oversee electronic surveillance conducted for foreign intelligence purposes.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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