The Defender’s Big Brother NewsWatch brings you the latest headlines related to governments’ abuse of power, including attacks on democracy, civil liberties and use of mass surveillance. The views expressed in the excerpts from other news sources do not necessarily reflect the views of The Defender.

The former congressional investigator Jason Foster has exposed a five year secret surveillance operation conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on members of congress and their staff. According to Foster, who now heads the Empower Oversight whistleblower center, the DOJ managed to obtain a federal court’s approval for this covert spying, largely centered on personal communication data of the targets.

Just The News reports that in his role as the chief investigative counsel for Senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Foster worked vigilantly to discern wrongdoings within the government. However, his communications were closely monitored as part of a federal leaks investigation, the evidence which has been recently unveiled to him by Google’s lawyers.

Foster divulged that the data pertaining to his personal conversations was procured by the government in 2017, a fact that should have been disclosed to him by 2018 under the initial court order. However, due to the DOJ’s petitions to the court to keep this surveillance confidential, Foster had been oblivious to the surveillance until recent months, nearly six years after his personal data was subpoenaed.

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