Sen. Wyden wants answers about warrantless searches

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is pushing the U.S. Department of Justice to answer questions about the use of warrantless searches of Americans’ digital communications.

Wyden wants to know how the department utilizes information from Executive Order 12333, originally intended to monitor foreigners.

He’s concerned order is being used as a “backdoor” for the warrantless search of American’s calls, emails and other communications.

Wyden asked three specific questions:

  1. How many times, in each of the calendar years 2011-2016, has the Attorney General provided this approval?
  2. Can the Intelligence Community conduct these searches “for the purpose of targeting a U.S. person or a person in the United States” without an individual warrant?
  3. What limitations and approval requirements would apply to searches for communications that are reasonably likely to be to, from, or about a U.S. person or a person located in the United States if the purpose of the search is not to “target” that person?

According to Wyden, Reagan-era Executive Order 12333 opens the door for a lack of oversight and vagueness in intelligence gathering.

He wrote in part, “For these reasons, I believe the public has the right both to clarify with regard to those procedures and data related to the frequency with which Americans and individuals in the United States are subject to these searches.”

Read the full letter here.

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