Mr. Whedon, Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe, wrote in a letter on November 6 that Section 215 was not used to collect Internet search terms, and in 61 orders issued last year under that law by a foreign intelligence surveillance court There was no one from Contains a collection of “web browsing” records.
Mr. Whedon’s office provided the letter to The New York Times, arguing that it meant Mr. Widen’s proposal in May – which he co-sponsored with Senator Steve Dines, Republic of Montana – at no operating costs. May be enacted into the law of.
But The Times pressured Mr Ratcliffe’s office and the FBI to clarify whether it was defining “web browsing” activity to log all visitors to a particular website, other than a particular site For browsing other person. The next day, the Justice Department sent an explanation to Mr. Ratcliffe’s office, according to a follow-up letter he sent to Mr. Whedon on 25 November.
In fact, “one of those 61 orders resulted in the production of information that could be portrayed as information about browsing,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote in another letter. Specifically, an order had approved the collection of logs, suggesting that “computers in a specified foreign country” had “detected a single, US web page.”
Mr Ratcliffe regretted that “this additional information to the senator was not included in my first letter” and suggested that his staff could take further “corrective action”.
In a statement, Mr. Widen said the letter “raises all kinds of new questions, including whether in this particular case, the government has taken steps to avoid collecting Americans’ web browsing information.
“Typically,” Mr. Widen continued, “the DNI has made no guarantee that the government will not use the Patriot Act to intentionally gather Americans’ web browsing information in the future, which is why Congress requires a warrant Should have passed already received support from a bipartisan majority in the Senate. “