Rand Paul has an idea for a good start.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump told Sen. Rand Paul that he does not support a clean extension of expiring surveillance authorities, throwing the future of the program into doubt ahead of a fast-approaching March 15 deadline to re-up key features of the Patriot Act.
The Kentucky Republican told reporters that Trump made the comments to him on Wednesday, just a day after Attorney General William Barr told GOP senators that Congress should extend the expiring provisions regarding roving wire taps, lone wolf actors and the most controversial provision: call data collection.
Asked about the discrepancy between his conversation with Trump and Barr’s remarks to senators, Paul said there was “misinformation that got out from some people in the administration” about the expiring surveillance authorities.
“The president was out of the country and somebody mischaracterized his positions. I’ll leave it up to y’all to figure that out,” Paul added.
Paul said Trump is “very supportive” of his amendment to prevent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act from targeting Americans, a reflection of conservative unease over the way the Trump campaign was surveilled in 2016.
“FISA warrants should not be issued against Americans,” Paul said on Thursday afternoon. “Americans shouldn’t be spied on by a secret court. I think he agrees completely with that and that’s the amendment that I’m going to insist on. I’m not letting anything go easy without a vote on my amendment.”
Paul’s amendment is all well and good as far as it goes; certainly, it’s a vast improvement over the Barr proposal, which McConnell and Graham also endorse. Myself, though, I’m with Sundance all the way.
Yesterday CTH warned of a scenario where congress would attempt to slip a clean renewal authorization into the Coronavirus appropriations bill. Today, that exact scenario was being discussed on Capitol Hill.
Following the conversation with President Trump, Senator Rand Paul is planning to propose legislation that would force reform to the current FISA authorities.
While CTH disagrees with the Rand Paul proposal, and would rather see the bulk data gathering/collection and opportunities for exploitation eliminated, at least Senator Paul is attempting to stop the system from being abused against political campaigns.
Two issues…and again CTH is not attempting to dismiss the righteous effort by Senator Paul…However:
(A) Isn’t it already illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and grossly corrupt, to use FISA as a political surveillance tool? If so, why do we need another law or rule change to make it more illegal, more unlawful and more grossly corrupt?
(B) Why do only elected officials or candidates for office get protection from having their fourth amendment rights violated by exploitation of the FISA courts? Shouldn’t the same standard of protection apply to everyone?
CTH understands what Rand Paul is attempting to do, but it’s the FISA process being used against *any* American that is the problem. No American should have their constitutional rights travel through a secret court in order to usurp them. Let FISA apply to “non Americans”; and if there is a need for surveillance or collection of information on Americans, then let the government approach regular Title-3 courts for domestic warrants.
Unfortunately, we know all too well just how likely Deep State operatives are to relinquish as powerful a tool as FISA—a grotesque affront to absolutely every principle this nation was founded upon—has turned out to be for them.