Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has long fought to protect privacy in the U.S. and now says the FBI has gone too far with its “leadership failures” in the week before the election.
In a blistering statement Thursday, Wyden said that the FBI’s “leadership failures” prove that intelligence agencies cannot be trusted on their own and must be held accountable by independent watchdogs.
“The continued leadership failures at the FBI are another reminder we can’t let intelligence agencies say ‘trust us’ and then give them a blank check to probe into Americans’ lives,” Wyden said.
Wyden called on the FBI to get an independent inspector general.
“While I’ve argued for years that Congress must create ironclad protections for Americans’ security and privacy, we also need vigilant oversight of agencies that have the power to deprive citizens of their liberty or change the course of an election,” Wyden said. “It is clear the FBI would benefit from a strong, independent inspector general, and that moves to weaken independent watchdogs like the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board only embolden leaders at FBI and elsewhere who believe the rules don’t apply to them.”
Wyden, a member of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, was central to the fight in 2015 to roll back the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata on Americans. He has long warned that U.S. intelligence agencies have too much unregulated power.