More than 10,000 federal employees could have access to data revealed by a secretive government surveillance program that has come under scrutiny because of alleged abuses, lawmakers were told by U.S. inspectors general.
At an April 27 House Judiciary subcommittee hearing, lawmakers heard from a panel of three witnesses associated with the U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) responsible for oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The legislation gives intelligence agencies broad powers to conduct surveillance on foreigners suspected of spying for a foreign power or belonging to a terrorist group.
However, bipartisan concerns have been raised because the program also has the ability to collect information about U.S. citizens.
During the hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) queried panelists about how many FBI agents could have access to FISA-acquired data.
A court-ordered report released in May 2022 revealed that the FBI had made more than 3.3 million queries of Americans under FISA authority. This, in turn, prompted a crisis of confidence in the FBI’s respect for civil liberties among members of both parties.