House moves forward with FISA overhaul amid ‘espionage’ backlash


The house introduced new legislation Tuesday night to the reform of the market surveillance authorities used to fight by the FBI terrorism and the overhaul of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court process was under the microscope in the Russia probe.

Instead of a clean extension of the expiring provisions, the USA freedom Reauthorization Act contains several versions, including improved congressional oversight of the FISA process, penalties for those who abuse the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) – the process for political purposes and the requirement for transcripts of court proceedings. The current legislation is scheduled to expire on Sunday.

“The deadline is now upon us, and we must act,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Tuesday evening.

Also on the subject of monitoring three provisions that expire March 15, including one that allows the FBI to obtain, to collect court orders, the business records issues, to national security investigations. The other, known as the “roving wiretap” provision, permits the monitoring of the subjects themselves, after you have changed cell phones, and to monitor topics that have no links to international terrorist organizations.

Nadler said the act tightened the legislation to avoid abuse, but does not go far enough to ensure civil liberties. “But we must not let the perfect the enemy of the good,” Nadler said at a Rules Committee hearing Tuesday evening at the unveiling of the legislation. “This bill is an important package of reforms.”

A top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Ohio REP Jim Jordan, agreed with Nadler that the legislation could have gone further, “but it has real reform.” The revisions, he said, are much better than the current FBI-surveillance tools into focus with the botched FBI application, to monitor the former trump campaign aide Carter page in the Russia probe.


“This bill before us is a true reform of the FISA program,” said Jordan in striking a bipartisan tone with Nadler. “These reforms have long been needed, but especially in the last few years, in the face of the FBI of spying on the Trump campaign, affiliate-Carter were.”

The bill tries to rein in a controversial part of the monitoring powers, known as section 215, which gives the government wide-ranging powers to demand “business records” of the company, in the name of national security studies. In an effort to better protect the privacy, the law would prohibit, with section 215 to obtain information that would otherwise require a warrant, and a prohibition on the acquisition of GPS and cell-site locations, Nadler said.

The National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the previously used section 215 bulk phone records, which was very controversial. In recent years, the majority of the meta data collection has been outlawed and a closely coordinated program was allowed, but now the program is officially ended, in accordance with the legislation.

“Unfortunately, this program proved to be technically difficult, generally expensive and have only limited value for the intelligence community,” says Nadler said. “The government switching the program voluntarily in the last year. This two-decade experiment to run its course and it is our responsibility, to him to its formal end.”

Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray wants Congress to renew the fight against the crime tools, they argue, is important for the fight against terrorism

The FBI requests, the provisions of crucial importance in the fight against terrorism and emphasized that none of the monitoring problems identified by the justice Department inspector General during the Russia-investigation. The inspector General said in a report last year that the FBI made serious errors and omissions during the four applications to eavesdrop on the former trump-campaign-consultants, including the omission of information, which may not support their suspicions, the site was an asset of a foreign government.


The new legislation requires that the attorney General draw personally observed officers.

“The site, the investigation was not necessary, that the character of the Prosecutor General’s office,” said Jordan, R-Ohio. “… We now require the attorney to approve a lawyer, writing a FISA investigation of an elected official or Federal candidate.”

The justice Department, the IG was in December, there was no evidence of political distortions, or improper motivation for the creation of the Trump Russia probe. However, the IG report States that there were at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the page FISA applications.

The bill would require, to lay the government open, all the significant opinions of the FISA Court within 180 days. The legislation would also a one-time historical assessment of the court’s opinions. It provides additional control for the FISA applications-applications and the enhanced penalties for false statements of information to the FISA court, the accuracy of the.

“There are penalties for providing false information to the court,” said Jordan. “There are penalties for hiding information from the court, and there are penalties for leaking information about the application to the court.”

Some lawmakers on the rules Committee expressed concerns, to politicize that a state attorney General, an investigation.


The legislation is scheduled for a vote in the house expressed as soon as Wednesday, and lawmakers are optimistic that the Nadler and Jordan could work from a FISA thing to fight, especially after the bitter accusation.

“I am pleasantly surprised done,” said Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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