In a Nov. 6 letter to Mr. Wyden, John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, wrote that Part 215 was not used to collect web search phrases, and that not one of the 61 orders issued final 12 months below that regulation by the Overseas Intelligence Surveillance Courtroom concerned assortment of “internet shopping” data.

Mr. Wyden’s workplace offered that letter to The New York Occasions, arguing that it meant Mr. Wyden’s proposal in Could — which he co-sponsored with Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana — might be enacted into regulation with none operational prices.

However The Occasions pressed Mr. Ratcliffe’s workplace and the F.B.I. to make clear whether or not it was defining “internet shopping” exercise to embody logging all guests to a specific web site, along with a specific particular person’s shopping amongst totally different websites. The subsequent day, the Justice Division despatched a clarification to Mr. Ratcliffe’s workplace, in line with a follow-up letter he despatched to Mr. Wyden on Nov. 25.

In truth, “a type of 61 orders resulted within the manufacturing of data that might be characterised as data relating to shopping,” Mr. Ratcliffe wrote within the second letter. Particularly, one order had authorized assortment of logs revealing which computer systems “in a specified international nation” had visited “a single, recognized U.S. internet web page.”

Mr. Ratcliffe expressed remorse “that this extra data was not included in my earlier letter” to the senator, and prompt his employees would possibly take additional “corrective motion.”

In an announcement, Mr. Wyden mentioned the letters increase “all types of recent questions, together with whether or not, on this explicit case, the federal government has taken steps to keep away from accumulating People’ internet shopping data.

“Extra typically,” Mr. Wyden continued, “the D.N.I. has offered no assure that the federal government wouldn’t use the Patriot Act to deliberately accumulate People’ internet shopping data sooner or later, which is why Congress should cross the warrant requirement that has already acquired help from a bipartisan majority within the Senate.”