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Senator Ron Wyden Attacks Warrantless Searches

OPB | July 1, 2014 12:06 p.m. | Updated: July 1, 2014 1:31 p.m.

Sen. Ron Wyden, 2014.

Sen. Ron Wyden, 2014.

John Rosman / OPB

In early June, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden asked the intelligence community for more information about its use of “backdoor searches.” In particular, he wanted to know how many times the government had conducted warrantless searches of Americans’ electronic communications.

Now the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has responded (pdf). According to its three-page letter, the NSA and CIA each did thousands of queries, while the FBI doesn’t even keep count. Wyden was not impressed, saying in a press release, “The findings transmitted to me raise questions about whether the FBI is exercising any internal controls over the use of backdoor searches including who and how many government employees can access the personal data of individual Americans. I intend to follow this up until it is fixed.”

We’ll talk with the senator to find out what he thinks this means for the U.S., and what he plans to do in response.

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