White House advisory panel calls for limits on FBI after misuse of surveillance database

"Complacency, a lack of proper procedures (...) led to FBI’s inappropriate use of Section 702."

A White House intelligence advisory group recommended restricting the FBI’s ability to use the surveillance database as part of the reforms necessary for the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to be reauthorized.

At the end of this year, an intelligence tool that allows warrantless spying on foreigners located abroad expires, and a report published this Monday by the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) and the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB), indicates that some changes are needed before the tool can be reauthorized.

The board recognizes that the FBI has inappropriately used Section 702 to conduct searches of Americans, including collections from government officials, and therefore deems it necessary to establish proper procedures for using the surveillance tool.

“Unfortunately, complacency, a lack of proper procedures, and the sheer volume of Section 702 activity led to FBI’s inappropriate use of Section 702 authorities, specifically U.S. person queries,” the report states.

The board also requests that the FBI not search data on crimes unrelated to national security.

It should be noted that both Democrats and Republicans have expressed concern over reports that the FBI has misused this tool to surveil Americans. But despite this, the White House has not committed to accepting the recommendations.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Deputy Senior National Security Advisor Jon Finer only said that they would review the board’s recommendations.

The FBI insisted on reauthorizing Section 702 and said it does “appreciate the board’s professionalism, expertise, and judgment.”