In a Nov. 6 letter to Mr. Wyden, John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, wrote that Part 215 was not used to collect web search phrases, and that not one of the 61 orders issued final 12 months underneath that legislation by the International Intelligence Surveillance Courtroom concerned assortment of “net searching” information.
Mr. Wyden’s workplace offered that letter to The New York Occasions, arguing that it meant Mr. Wyden’s proposal in Might — which he co-sponsored with Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana — might be enacted into legislation 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 “net 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 response to a follow-up letter he despatched to Mr. Wyden on Nov. 25.
In actual fact, “a kind of 61 orders resulted within the manufacturing of data that might be characterised as data concerning searching,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote within the second letter. Particularly, one order had accredited assortment of logs revealing which computer systems “in a specified international nation” had visited “a single, recognized U.S. net web page.”
Mr. Ratcliffe expressed remorse “that this extra data was not included in my earlier letter” to the senator, and instructed his workers would possibly take additional “corrective motion.”
In an announcement, Mr. Wyden mentioned the letters elevate “every kind of latest questions, together with whether or not, on this explicit case, the federal government has taken steps to keep away from amassing Individuals’ net searching data.
“Extra typically,” Mr. Wyden continued, “the D.N.I. has offered no assure that the federal government wouldn’t use the Patriot Act to deliberately accumulate Individuals’ net searching data sooner or later, which is why Congress should cross the warrant requirement that has already obtained assist from a bipartisan majority within the Senate.”