Government /

Biden Grants Administration Spying Powers in New Executive Order

'The Biden Administration continues to weaponize the power of government' former Acting Director of National Intelligence told Timcast

President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order updating U.S. policy on signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection that gives his administration the power to spy on political enemies.

SIGINT is a broad category of intelligence-gathering that refers to the interception of communication between people, which allows intelligence operatives to gain access to phone communications, text messages, e-mails, geographical location data, and a host of other information — all without detection.

The Executive Order lists multiple “legitimate objectives” for SIGINT activities, including spying on foreign governments and terrorist organizations, and protecting the U.S. against threats from terrorism, foreign military attacks, espionage, and cybersecurity threats.

However, Biden’s executive order contains language which gives the Executive Branch the authority to unilaterally and clandestinely update the list of targeted individuals — theoretically permitting the president the ability to spy on anyone he wants.

“The President may authorize updates to the list of objectives in light of new national security imperatives, such as new or heightened threats to the national security of the United States, for which the President determines that signals intelligence collection activities may be used,” the order reads.

Ostensibly to address the need for “checks and balances,” the order states that the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) must publicly release any changes to the list of objectives by the president.

However, the executive action allows the president to override that requirement, stating that any updates to the SIGINT list may remain private/classified if “the President determines that doing so would pose a risk to the national security of the United States.”

This language of the order gives Biden the ability to surveil, at his sole discretion, any individual or organization without oversight.

“The Biden Administration continues to weaponize the power of government,” Richard Grenell, former U.S. Acting-DNI and Special Presidential Envoy, told Timcast. “There should be a huge outcry from the media and NGOs on their latest move to spy on whoever they think are their enemies.”

One justification for SIGINT collection listed in the order is “protecting the integrity of elections and political processes, government property, and United States infrastructure,” possibly opening the door to the Biden administration spying on individuals who question or protest the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections.

The order lists prohibited objectives for SIGINT collection, including for the purpose of suppressing criticism, dissent or political opinions, restricting privacy interests, suppressing a right to legal counsel, or disadvantaging individuals on the basis of a protected status.

However, the language of the provision allowing the president to redefine “objectives” as he sees fit could allow him to simply reclassify an individual or organization the executive branch wishes to place under surveillance.

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