Ahead of FISA Vote, Trump Sows Confusion

Ahead of FISA Vote, Trump Sows Confusion

"There's every reason to believe that we will re-authorize 702, and it will mirror, probably, what they've taken up", Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr told TWS on Tuesday, referring to the pending House legislation.

The law that authorized the surveillance programs is set to expire on January 19. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement Wednesday night, saying the "administration urges the House ... to preserve the useful role FISA's Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives".

If they talked about the lack of chimpanzees on Broadway, Trump would tweet: "The LOSERS on Broadway do not listen to Americans, who have a right to see more chimpanzees on stage".

Trump later clarified that he "has personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

The underlying bill originated in the Senate and is S.139; the House counterpart is H.R.4478.

The tweet came just hours before the House was preparing a much-anticipated vote on a six-year extension of Section 702 of the FISA program, which allows USA intelligence agencies to monitor foreign communications.

The trouble began for the plan after a morning salvo on Twitter, where the President said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act "may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign".

The Section 702 program was originally approved by Congress in 2008 to increase the government's ability to track and thwart foreign terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.


"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump wrote, citing a Fox News headline. And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Intelligence Committee Democrat (who supports the bill), recommended it be temporarily pulled in response to Trump's "irresponsible" comments.

The White House, U.S. intelligence agencies and Republican leaders in Congress have said they consider the surveillance program indispensable and in need of little or no revision.

Demand Progress, a civil-liberties focused advocacy group, condemned the House for voting down the amendment. The House Freedom Caucus declared its support for it, underscoring the splintering inside the GOP on the surveillance authority.

"The way I understand the president's position is that he wants some of the reforms, that he thinks that we ought to have a warrant to look at this, and that there's a possibility that people with bias in the intelligence community could use that bias to actually abuse the system", the Kentucky Republican said on MSNBC.

The tweet threw into doubt the carefully negotiated bipartisan legislation to extend Section 702 of the FISA law, which allows intelligence agencies to sweep up broad amounts of online communications in search of terrorism leads - critics say it amounts to nothing more than a warrantless search.

His arguments echoed concerns that requiring a warrant even in cases directly related to national security - rather than other types of criminal investigations - would put up risky barriers to communication between United States intelligence agencies.

In particular, under the Patriot Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation can covertly conduct physical searches or wiretaps of American citizens in order to obtain evidence of crime without having to prove probable cause, which critics say contradicts the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. The FBI has acknowledged to lawmakers that it would rarely need court permission under the Nunes bill to search data collected on Americans.

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