In a Nov. 6 letter to Mr. Wyden, John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, wrote that Part 215 was not used to assemble web search phrases, and that not one of the 61 orders issued final 12 months below that regulation by the International Intelligence Surveillance Courtroom concerned assortment of “internet searching” data.
Mr. Wyden’s workplace supplied that letter to The New York Occasions, arguing that it meant Mr. Wyden’s proposal in Could — which he co-sponsored with Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana — may very well be enacted into regulation with none operational prices.
However The Occasions pressed Mr. Ratcliffe’s workplace and the F.B.I. to make clear whether or not it was defining “internet searching” exercise to embody logging all guests to a selected web site, along with a selected particular person’s searching amongst totally different websites. The following day, the Justice Division despatched a clarification to Mr. Ratcliffe’s workplace, in keeping with a follow-up letter he despatched to Mr. Wyden on Nov. 25.
In truth, “a type of 61 orders resulted within the manufacturing of knowledge that may very well be characterised as data relating to searching,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote within the second letter. Particularly, one order had permitted assortment of logs revealing which computer systems “in a specified overseas nation” had visited “a single, recognized U.S. internet web page.”
Mr. Ratcliffe expressed remorse that “that this extra data was not included in my earlier letter” to the senator, and steered his employees may take additional “corrective motion.”
In an announcement, Mr. Wyden stated the letters increase “every kind of recent questions, together with whether or not, on this explicit case, the federal government has taken steps to keep away from amassing Individuals’ internet searching data.
“Extra usually,” Mr. Wyden continued, “the D.N.I. has supplied no assure that the federal government wouldn’t use the Patriot Act to deliberately acquire Individuals’ internet searching data sooner or later, which is why Congress should cross the warrant requirement that has already acquired assist from a bipartisan majority within the Senate.”