The bodies from Sunday’s Orlando massacre are not yet buried, but that hasn’t stopped John Cornyn from trying to use their deaths to expand surveillance that would not have stopped the attack.
Cornyn told reporters yesterday he will use the attack to push to include Electronic Communications Transaction Records in the things FBI can obtain with a National Security Letter.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, pointed to a longstanding request by the FBI to expand the scope of electronic records — such as web browsing history — agents could sweep up from companies in terrorism investigations without obtaining a court order.
“They could go and get additional information, like metadata, who he’s e-mailing, the websites he’s accessing. Not content,” Cornyn told reporters Monday.
Legislation dealing with the FBI’s surveillance powers — something that has been requested by FBI Director James Comey — could come to the Senate floor as soon as this week as part of a debate on the spending bill that funds law enforcement.
“This was the No. 1 legislative priority of the FBI according to James Comey, and those sort of additional surveillance tools could have provided the FBI more information, which would have allowed them to identify this guy as the threat that he obviously was,” Cornyn said.
In his push for new authorities, Cornyn actually claimed that if the FBI had obtained Omar Mateen’s ECTRs, it “could have provided the FBI more information” which would have “allowed” the FBI to “identify this guy as the threat that he obviously was.”
But even the article quotes (but does not unpack) Jim Comey explaining why Cornyn’s claim that ECTRs would have helped the FBI identify Mateen as a threat is complete bullshit: because FBI obtained his ECTRs.
Our investigation involved introducing confidential sources to him, recording conversations with him, following him, reviewing transactional records from his communications, and searching all government holdings for any possible connections, any possible derogatory information. We then interviewed him twice.
John Cornyn wants to give FBI the authority to obtain what they obtained (presumably via a subpoena), promising that obtaining the same records via a parallel authority somehow would have tipped the FBI that he was a threat when the very same ECTRs didn’t do so obtained via subpoena.
The claim is so stupid I can only assume former judge, TX Attorney General, and longtime Senate Judiciary Committee member has no fucking clue what he’s talking about.
And based on that position of authority, Cornyn wants us to believe we need to pass this law?