A few minutes after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the FBI was using a massive data-mining program called Boundless Informant to collect metadata on more than 40 million Americans.
The program was originally developed by the National Security Agency and later adopted by the Justice Department.
But the NSA, which also uses Boundless, was able to use the data to get a court order to compel the companies that built Boundless to turn over records that would show how many Americans were targeted by the program.
The data was not limited to just phone calls.
The FBI obtained records of email, text messages, social media accounts and other communications from the companies, as well as records of how often the companies provided the information to the FBI.
This information was collected under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a law that gives the government broad surveillance powers, including the ability to obtain electronic communications and records from companies that are not subject to court orders.
The NSA has said that it has not used Boundless data for surveillance.
However, it did turn over the data for the FBI to use against people connected to suspected terrorists.
The court order sought records of “all calls made, received, or sent by any United States person to any foreign government” that were connected to the case.
The agency did not say who the foreign government was, only that it was Russia.
The information that the FBI got from Boundless could be used to identify and track foreign nationals.
The surveillance of Americans has long been a part of the FBI’s strategy to keep tabs on Americans who are suspected of wrongdoing and help the bureau catch them.
But a court-authorized warrant for the data collection was a significant step in what has been a tumultuous time for the agency, which has faced criticism over its handling of the mass surveillance programs.
As a result, some civil liberties groups have pushed to make the NSA and other law enforcement agencies use warrants in court to get the data.