A court in Washington found that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employees repeatedly committed violations: they turned to a database intended for counterintelligence purposes to search for information about unrelated Americans, including protesters. The court’s conclusion leads The Washington Post.
The FBI committed such violations in approximately 278,000 cases. The database for counterintelligence purposes is replenished with information obtained through the interception of electronic communications and other intelligence activities outside the United States. The base should help fight the work of the intelligence services of other countries and terrorists.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence of the United States and the FBI have access to it. However, employees can access it only if the search on it will provide information related to intelligence.
In 2020, the FBI searched the database for information on 133 people detained in connection with riots and protests. Then there were Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the USA. In addition, the FBI tried to find in the database information about the people involved in the storming of the Capitol in January 2021, and in 2020 they were looking for information about thousands of people who donated funds to the campaign of a politician running for Congress.
The court ruled that the FBI accessed the base in the absence of sufficient grounds for this, that is, it used the base inappropriately. As noted PoliticoIf FBI officers are once again convicted of such actions, access to the base may be restricted.