Is FISA dead?
On today’s Jay Sekulow Live we discussed the current state of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reauthorization process.
On the FISA legislation itself, and FISA as we know it, I think it’s fair to say it is dead. Speaker Pelosi pulled the FISA reauthorization bill. In its place, what the House and the Senate have come up with is that they are going to come together to try and agree on compromise legislation.
What was interesting to me is the Department of Justice basically said that if you need outside counsel, you basically cannot use something like FISA anyway. It would be better for them to use the laws that they have for intelligence gathering and surveillance than to come up with another FISA.
It’s been interesting to see how the response has been. What is clear in Washington, DC is that they are not willing to just give this blanket power back to the Executive Branch right now because of the issues of former FBI Director Comey, former Deputy FBI Director McCabe, and former FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s misuse and abuse. You can go down the line. These individuals may be remembered as those who are actually the reason as why the FBI, DOJ, and intelligence community do not have these extended powers that they received in the post-9/11 world.
ACLJ Director of Government Affairs Thann Bennett made the following point:
I really view this as a good development. Interestingly enough it was not just people on the Right. It was not just the President. It was also certain members on the Left. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren was one of them. The concerns about the reauthorization do come from different quarters. There were some inside the law enforcement agency, inside the Department of Justice, who did not like some of the reforms as far as having an advocate in the courtroom.
The Department of Justice said, look, if you take the time to get this right we can still secure the American people using the other tools that we have. Now, eventually we need to get something on the table. We need a patchwork in place where we can have some of these tools. But, this is the opportunity to do it right and I was glad that the Department of Justice acknowledged that. The White House, there’s no way that you can refute the concerns that they have.
Congressman Steve Scalise said the following on Fox News:
The FISA court has to fix their problems internally. The bill was trying to do some reforms, it didn’t go far enough, clearly, but at the same time, there was more work that needed to be done, and then you throw in the fact that there still has been no accountability. There has to be accountability for those people that abused the FISA court, that did other things illegally within the FBI, some of those people need to go to jail, and I think once that happens you’ll see an ability to come back together and get this program back on track.
I also wanted to take a moment to ask you to join us in prayer for our nation. In these uncertain times, I’m sure you’ve seen enough things on the television, it is important to come together and pray.
The full broadcast is complete with more in-depth analysis by our team on the FISA matter.
Watch the full broadcast below.
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