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Jordan, Biggs demand answers from Wray on FISA abuses

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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) recently declassified a November 2020 opinion memo raising concerns about the FBI’s “apparent widespread violations” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and House Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) are demanding that FBI Director Chris Wray answer to the opinion. The two lawmakers sent a letter Tuesday, which also asked Wray how he is reforming the FBI to ensure the process is being used in a constitutional manner.

In their letter, Jordan and Biggs note that the ODNI’s memo highlights the misuse of FISA’s Section 702, which states that the government can permit the surveillance of foreigners outside the U.S. for national security purposes, to spy on American citizens.

The two Republican lawmakers also cite Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December 2019 report showing abuse of the FISA process to illegally spy on members of the Trump campaign. The report revealed 17 “errors and omissions” and 51 incorrect points used as a basis for the surveillance.

Wray previously said the FISA warrant obtained against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page wasn’t justified and he’s promised to reform the system, but Jordan and Biggs aren’t convinced that anything has changed.

The FBI declined to comment on the letter, in an email to this reporter.

The Republican Congressmen ask Wray to provide the following:

“The recently released FISC opinion only raises more questions about the FBI’s respect for the constitutional and statutory parameters of FISA. Given the seriousness of this matter for civil liberties, please provide the following information immediately:

1. Please explain why almost a year after the OIG’s report about FISA abuses, the FISC found the FBI to still be abusing its warrantless surveillance authority under section 702.

2. Please provide a detailed accounting of every instance since December 2019 in which the FBI has queried, accessed, otherwise used information obtained pursuant to section 702 for purposes unrelated to national security.

3. Please explain what actions you have taken in the wake of the FISC’s November 2020 memorandum opinion and order to prevent the FBI from using its section 702 authorities to surveil, investigate, or otherwise examine U.S. citizens.”

You can follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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50-Foot Christmas Tree Outside Fox News Set on Fire by 49yr Old Homeless Man

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Fox News Xmas Tree

Just before 12:15 am Wednesday morning, an arsonist set fire to the 50-foot tree in front of Fox News’ Midtown headquarters on 6th avenue. The suspect, a 49-year-old with three prior arrests, was quickly caught and taken into custody.

The man has two previous arrests for drug possession and one for public intoxication. The motive is unclear, and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said detectives are looking into whether mental illness was a factor.

Christmas Tree

The suspect accused of setting the News Corp. Christmas tree on fire is taken into custody by the NYPD.

“The suspect is identified as 49-year-old Craig Tamanaha, who is homeless, with a last known address in Brooklyn” reports ABC 7 New York. Police said the suspect climbed up “the metal superstructure” underneath the artificial tree and lit papers he had brought with him on fire, then shoved the papers into the tree structure.

He then climbed down and watched from the street level as it burned, and he was spotted by building security who pointed the man out to police officers posted in nearby Rockefeller Center,” reports ABC.

A lighter was found in his possession, and he has been charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, arson, criminal nuisance, endangering others, criminal trespass, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.

Fox says it will rebuild the tree, which took more than 21 hours to assemble and consisted of 10,000 glass ornaments and 100,000 lights.

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