Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee have been making efforts to sink a surveillance deal the House passed.
The two GOP senators were victorious in forcing the expiration of three surveillance programs, which includes the controversial Section 215.
Now, the Senators are attempting to get President Trump to nix the recently passed House bill.
This bill is tied to a reauthorization of the three expiring provisions of the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 law which reformed the country’s intelligence programs. Some changes were made to a surveillance court as well.
“The House bill, with no amendments, is completely unacceptable, an affront to any of us who were ever concerned about FISA abuse,” Paul commented, making reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, or FISA, Court.
In the meantime, Lee delivered a lengthy speech, where he criticized the House measure, citing President Trump’s concerns.
“He still has concerns with FISA and that many senators are pointing out the flaws in the reforms package,” Lee stated. “If the president of the United States himself has reason to be concerned about FISA, what about the rest of Americans?”
The House passed its bill on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 in a 278-136 vote.
The bill would extend two USA Freedom Act provisions connected to “roving” wiretaps, allowing law enforcement to track an individual across devices, and lone wolf terrorists inspired by other terrorist organizations that they are not members of.
The bill would scrap a controversial call records program but reforms and reauthorizes other parts of Section 215, which gives the government the power to request “tangible things” that pertain to a national security investigation.
However, opponents like Paul and Lee argue that the bill does not go far enough to reform the FISA Court.
Republicans have had growing skepticism of the surveillance court after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions in the warrant applications that were used to target Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The two Senators should continue pushing the envelope on the issue of FISA.
America’s surveillance state is deeply entrenched and any efforts to expose its abuses are welcome.