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"In the context of FISA Section 702, the term 'target' is generally used to refer to the act of intentionally directing intelligence collection at a particular person, a group, or organization."[1]


For example, the statutory provisions of Section 702 state that the Government "may not intentionally target any person known at the time of the acquisition to be located in the United States" (emphasis added), among other express limitations.

Under Section 702, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves Certifications as opposed to individualized orders. Thus, the number of 702 "targets" reflects an estimate of the number of known users of particular facilities (sometimes referred to as selectors) subject to intelligence collection under those Certifications. This estimate is based on the information readily available to the Intelligence Community to identify unique targets — users, whose identity may be unknown, but who are reasonably believed to use the particular facility from outside the United States and who are reasonably believed to be non-United States persons.

For example, foreign intelligence targets often communicate using several different email accounts. Unless the Intelligence Community has information that multiple email accounts are used by the same target, each of those accounts would be counted separately. On the other hand, if the Intelligence Community is aware that the accounts are all used by the same target, they would be counted as one target.