Donald Trump Actually Tweeted Against His Own Bill In FISA Rant

Glen Norman
January 12, 2018

The law gives US intelligence agencies the power to spy on the electronic communications and phone calls of foreigners residing outside the United States to try to gather information about any terrorist plots or activities.

The House on Thursday approved 256-164 a bill to reauthorize provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years, putting the measure in the Senate's hands.

Before the vote, a tweet from Trump had contradicted the official White House position and renewed unsubstantiated allegations that the previous Democratic administration of Barack Obama improperly surveilled the Republican's 2016 presidential campaign.

He and other civil-liberties advocates say that while targets for 702 collection must be foreigners overseas, Americans can be snared if they are talking with those targets.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Thursday that he meant to do "everything in my power, including filibuster", to impede the bill next week, although that is unlikely to block its passage.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 10, 2018.

"House votes on controversial FISA ACT today".

Trump, who continues to brood over special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and his associates, took less than an hour to link the FISA issue to his own disputes with USA law enforcement agencies.

"National security does not trump our inalienable rights as a people, especially when the government want to "collect it all to know it all" and bypass the rule of law for secret executive rules to keep us safe from ourselves using legislative acts to make it all legal", he wrote.

Trump's tweets on surveillance marked the second time this week that he appeared to veer from the administration's position. But top Democrats seized on the confusion, calling on Republican leaders to withdraw the bill from consideration "in light of the irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today", Rep. Adam Schiff, Calif., the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said on the House floor.

Republicans made up 191 affirmative votes, with 65 Democrats chipping in.

Apparently, House Speaker Paul Ryan had a word with the president in between those two tweets.

Napolitano said that the president's "woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him" before he assumed office. A separate source confirmed that Trump initiated the call.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) was born from Watergate. "What were his issues?" said House Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker of North Carolina told Politico.

Democrats, meanwhile, focused on what they called the disconnect involved with a president of the United States, who controls one of the world's largest intelligence operations, basing his statements about its conduct and authorities on a Fox and Friends TV news report.

The president, it seemed, had just learned something from a cable-news morning show and seemed to be wondering whether his stance was the right one, after all.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy pointed out that a "clean" bill would not include the security and border wall that Trump has insisted be part of any immigration plan. He walked himself back two hours later, tweeting, "We need it!".

Senior government officials can ask spy agencies to "unmask" the names of Americans or US organizations if they think it will help them better understand the underlying intelligence.

That followed a "Fox & Friends" segment speculating about whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation used information in the dossier as a pretext to spy on Trump's presidential campaign. The emails sought advice on how to build explosives and were collected under a Section 702 warrant. As the law was originally written, the intelligence community can not use Section 702 to target Americans, who are protected by the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The fact that it collects incidental information about USA citizens should not be a prohibition on this effort.

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