POLITICO The scandal that broke Tuesday night about the use of personal cell phone data to track and monitor Americans’ phone records has already caused a great deal of concern about privacy and national security.
The scandal also has put a spotlight on a long-standing debate about how to protect privacy while safeguarding against terrorism and other threats.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the scandal.1.
The FBI and Justice Department’s own report found no evidence to support claims that Trump’s team accessed or otherwise used the phone records of Americans.
The bureau and Justice officials found that the communications involved were not directed at or in connection with an investigation or any criminal activity.2.
A Justice Department inspector general report found that “the FBI’s own computer system did not have access to the records, but instead used a data center.”
It concluded that “it did not need to have access because there were no reasonable grounds to believe the data were relevant to a criminal investigation.”3.
The report concluded that the FBI and DOJ did not receive authorization to use the phone data because they did not know what the data would be used for.
The IG also noted that “no one in the FBI or DOJ authorized this program or the data collection.
No one in either agency knew that the data could be used to conduct surveillance.”4.
The Justice Department Inspector General also found that while the FBI obtained the phone numbers of millions of Americans from a database of Verizon customers, “there was no specific authorization to obtain this information, and the data in question was not used in any way for any criminal investigation or investigative purposes.”5.
The inspector general found that “[o]ur use of this information was not authorized in any manner, and neither did any law enforcement officer in any jurisdiction know that this information could be utilized for any purposes.”6.
The DOJ IG said it was “surprised that [the FBI] was able to obtain the data because there was no lawful basis for its use, given that the information was never in the possession of any criminal agency.”7.
“The lack of oversight at the FBI led us to conclude that it is possible that the bureau did not properly secure the data for use in this manner,” the IG said.
The Obama administration and Justice department also acknowledged that they were unaware of the use or disclosure of the phone call data, though the IG did not provide any evidence to back up that assertion.8.
A former FBI agent who worked on the Clinton email probe testified that he “was not aware of any operational or operational context where the information that was collected would be useful in a criminal or national security investigation.”9.
The former FBI official testified that the records were not used for investigative purposes and that he did not understand why the records had not been shared with other law enforcement agencies.
The official said that the use would have been limited to a national security case.10.
The Senate Judiciary Committee called for a full public disclosure of all communications between the FBI, DOJ, and Verizon, including all phone calls and emails.
The committee also requested that the White House immediately disclose the information and that the Justice Department and FBI provide a “detailed accounting of any requests made to the Justice and FBI to obtain or obtain this data.”11.
The Wall Street Journal reported that “Congress is considering new legislation that would allow the president to order the disclosure of information that he believes may have been improperly obtained by the FBI.”
The bill, which was introduced on Thursday, is not expected to pass, but Democrats are pushing for the information to be released as soon as possible.
The story is continuing to unfold.
Follow the latest updates below.