By Wes Walker,
We’ve seen hand-wringing about all the bad things that could happen if we fail to renew the FISA rules we’ve got on the books.
But for years, we’ve seen warning signs about how freely the government has justified ‘workarounds’ giving it tools to sidestep explicit Constitutional prohibitions against violating US citizens’ Fourth-Amendment rights.
We are once again coming to the end of the road for FISA rules, where Congress is faced with a choice to extend or sunset those provisions.
Biden’s people want to reauthorize Section 702 of the FISA powers without changes. The odds of that happening are looking incredibly unlikely.
Since LaHood was a target of the FBI’s FISA powers in 2019, this is not just a ‘theoretical’ policy for him.
Turner and LaHood took particular aim at fired FBI Director James Comey’s role in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Russia collusion in the 2020 presidential election. Durham’s report in May on his investigation of the Trump-Russia investigators revealed FISA wrongdoing related to the FBI’s reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s discredited and Democratic-funded dossier to obtain flawed FISA surveillance against Trump campaign associate Carter Page during and after the 2016 election.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence then declassified a FISA Court opinion last month showing the FBI committed FISA violations 278,000 times in recent years, including on people believed to be connected to violent George Floyd protests and the Capitol riot.
Another recently declassified intelligence document concluded that “misunderstandings regarding FBI’s systems and FBI’s querying procedures caused a large number of query errors” related to 702.
The 702 portion of the FISA law is not directly connected to the Trump-Russia saga but relates to what the ODNI describes as “a key provision” of FISA “that permits the government to conduct targeted surveillance of foreign persons located outside the United States.” — WashingtonExaminer.
What kind of changes would they be looking for?
“He is a victim — he was subject to improper 702 queries, so he brings with him both an understanding of FISA and the importance of stopping the abuses,” Turner said. “We’re going to be looking at all aspects of FISA for reform, including the manner in which cases are processed by the FISA court, the manner in which people have access to FISA information, the standards that are applied for its access, and the manner in which the intelligence community shares that information among themselves.”
LaHood echoed to the Washington Examiner that “there is no clean reauthorization whatsoever — that is just off the table.” The congressman said “FISA can be made better” with “strong and systematic reforms.” –WashingtonExaminer
With IC abuses like the ones on display with the Hunter Biden ‘Russian disinformation’ letter, there’s much more than FISA that needs to go under the microscope.
Cross Posted with Clash DailyTags: Commentary