Tag Archives: FISA

Why Mitch McConnell should allow amendments on #FISA702

My latest piece at Hot Air looks at why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should allow amendments on FISA reauthorization. Here’s an excerpt:

FreedomWorks, which has really been involved in the #FISA702 debate and reform, is also prodding the Senate on amendments.

“Regular order should always be the standard in the Senate,” Vice President of Legislative Affairs Jason Pye told me, in a statement. “With such severe Fourth Amendment implications at stake, Leader McConnell, who swore an oath to the protect and defend the Constitution, has a responsibility to allow amendments offered by Sens. Lee and Paul that would eliminate the backdoor search loophole and ensure that ‘abouts’ collection can never come back.”

I’ve written about the FISA reauthorization over the last week, pointing out the Fourth Amendment issues, and what civil libertarianish groups are saying about the House passage. You’d think the upcoming Senate debate on the bill would be a bit of a hotter topic in the press, and with the American people.


Read the rest here.


What civil libertarian(ish) groups are saying about #FISA702 reauthorization

My latest at Hot Air looks at the House’s decision to reauthorize FISA, and the upcoming fight in the Senate on it. The piece features comments from FreedomWorks’ Jason Pye and Cato’s Patrick Eddington. Here’s an excerpt:

It appears the focus on killing the bill will be in the Senate, where Paul, Lee, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden have been fighting for reforms for years. Paul and Wyden have promised to filibuster, while Lee is teaming up with Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on the USA Liberty Act. The latter are hoping Mitch McConnell will let them offer amendments to the bill, including their bill.

Ed pointed out this morning that Senate leadership may do their best to avoid another messy fight on FISA by connecting it with the omnibus spending bill. It’s good strategy but shows just what’s wrong with Washington by using cheap tactics to get something passed. Before people say, “Drain the swamp! Only Trump can save us!”, it should be pointed out the president endorsed the bill this morning despite an earlier tweet suggesting he wasn’t in favor of it. My guess is Chief of Staff John Kelly got in Trump’s ear and told him how “important” the bill was to Trump’s campaign promise of keeping terrorists out, even if it’s debatable whether NSA spying has really saved America from attack.

You can read the rest here.


FISA reauthorization bill to be discussed Tuesday

My latest piece at Hot Air looks at the FISA reauthorization bill the House Rules Committee is scheduled to discuss on Tuesday.  It’s not a pretty picture. Here’s an excerpt:

The rules would allow the National Security Agency to restart collecting messages Americans send to foreign intelligence targets barely a year after ending the practice. The bill is promising lip-service to the Fourth Amendment by saying “The Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall adopt querying procedures consistent with the requirements of the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States for information collected pursuant to an authorization…” but CATO Institute policy analyst Patrick G. Eddington called the language complete make-believe.

“It’s meaningless because the AG and DNI are allowed to make up the rules and decide what the phrase “consistent with” means vis a vis the 4th Amendment,” the former CIA analyst told me. “If it isn’t one person/one warrant/probable cause only standard, it’s a sham.”

The Fourth Amendment is the key part of the Constitution which proclaims the federal government cannot violate the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and warrants can’t be issued without “probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The rest can be read here.