FBI Dir. Mueller Urges Congress to Reauthorize Use of Anti-Terrorism Tools

Robert Mueller/file fbi photo
By Allan Lengel

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller urged Congress Wednesday to reauthorize investigative tools like roving wiretaps to help fight terrorism.

“We encourage Congress to reauthorize the three critical FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) tools that will expire later this year: roving wiretap authority, access to business records under FISA, and the “lone wolf” provision,” Mueller said while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

“Two of these tools have been part of FISA since the USA PATRIOT Act was enacted nearly a decade ago, and the third has been in FISA since 2004. They have all been reauthorized several times. Each facilitates the collection of vital foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to support our national security mission.”

FISA was designed to  allow investigators to secretly conduct surveillance and gather intelligence of foreign entities and individuals inside the U.S.  without going through  the normal channels to get a court order. Instead, agencies submit the requests to the highly secretive FISA Court for approval.

The ‘”lone wolf provision Mueller referred to allows investigators to use FISA  for surveillance of a foreign person who may  be acting alone and has no ties to foreign organization. The roving wiretap allows the government to track someone who tries to elude authorities by constantly changing phones.

Mueller also said: “The foreign intelligence threat to the United States continues unabated, from traditional means such as last year’s arrest of a network of Russian spies living in the United States, to more contemporary methods of tradecraft.

“Foreign intelligence services continue to target political and military intelligence as well as information from economic institutions, both in and outside government. Foreign adversaries, however, do not rely on traditional agent networks alone—they are increasingly making use of non-traditional collectors, such as students, visiting scholars and scientists, and business people.”


Leave a Reply