Expect More FISA Abuse: Surveillance Bill Passes House
The time limit was almost up on the intelligence surveillance bill with all the back and forth between Democrat and Republican representatives. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed in the House of Representatives with a 278 to 136 vote on the bipartisan deal. Sunday was the deadline for the bill to expire, and lawmakers were scrambling on both sides of the aisle.
Liberal Democrats and Republicans who lean toward the liberal side of the fence negotiated on adding more privacy protections to the bill. Real Conservatives wanted the law completely revised so it would not have any issues passing the Senate. The hardcore Republicans are furious and are hoping for the liberal bill to fail in the Senate.
The three expiring provisions within the USA Freedom Act, which include wiretaps, lone wolf surveillance, and access to phone data is all in the Senate’s hands now. Attorney General William Barr was aiming for Congress to pass the bill, so he has access to all the information as needed and when needed.
Barr stated, “I have reviewed the House FISA bill and support its passage. The bill contains an array of new requirements and compliance provisions that will protect against abuse and misuse in the future while ensuring that this critical tool is available when appropriate to protect the safety of the American people.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who is a Democrat and Republican Representative Jim Jordan, cited how the bill was a great accomplishment. Both agreed there is more work to the privacy protections to be made in the future. The hardcore Conservatives wanted to get it done before passing the bill as is.
Nadler stated, “Since we first circulated the original draft of this bill, we have heard from a wide range of stakeholders from the most progressive members of the Democratic caucus to the staunchest supporters of President Trump, and they have convinced us to make additional changes to the bill.
Representative Jordan added, “Contrary to a couple of hours ago, I actually agree with the Chairman. I think this bill doesn’t go far enough, but it does represent real reform.”
Republicans, including Jordan, called for a revision when the Department of Justice noticed 17 “significant errors or omissions,” which dated back to 2016. The main point was to stop the bill from expiring and fix what they can to keep the bill alive. Jordan agreed on the changes but would not follow a reauthorization of the bill.
Jordan told Conservative Bob Frantz, a radio talk show host out of Ohio, “I am [OK with the deal], but I’m like you, I wanted a lot more. But sometimes you got to step back. And look, what are we going to get with Democrats in control of the House?”
The most substantial critics who happen to be the hardcore Conservatives who look out for the American people shot up with anger. The House Freedom Caucus announced before the vote took place, “Anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people.”
Senator Rand Paul called the bipartisan bill, “Weak sauce.” He also said on Twitter, “The ‘Deal’ on FISA is weak sauce diluted [and] made impotent by A.G. Barr. None of the reforms prevent secret FISA court from abusing the rights of Americans. None of the reforms prevent a President of either party from a politically motivated investigation. Big Disappointment!”
Since the beginning of all arguments, Paul and Senator Mike Lee were calling for a clean sweep of FISA. Both are pushing for President Trump to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.
Some of the FISA’s revisions contain the end of the NSA’s control over how they collect records. It also limits how long records can stay in the government’s possession.
The government has to give the notification of who they are surveillance in the national security investigations. The government also has to provide the right for an individual to dispute any actions taken against them.
In other words, the government cannot come in and do whatever they want. Privacy has to be respected. The First Amendment rights have to be upheld when any government has an individual targeted.
The FISA Bill is a prime example of how the Democrats have played around. They have waited until the last minute to get something done. The FISA bill is now suitable for both the government if used correctly and the American people, but more still has to be revised.