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How national security surveillance nabs more than spies

Department of Justice DOJ
Posted at 8:21 AM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 15:50:14-04

BY ERIC TUCKER, WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has charged multiple defendants in recent years with routine criminal violations derived from foreign intelligence-gathering.

The cases rely on the same surveillance tools the FBI has admitted misusing in investigating the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The cases are attracting the attention of defense lawyers and civil liberties advocates who object that tools meant for foreign intelligence collection are being used for prosecutions with no obvious connection to national security.

But the Justice Department says the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act explicitly allows evidence collected through foreign intelligence surveillance warrants to be repurposed for use in criminal prosecutions.