McCaul: ‘Extremely Dangerous’ World Without FISA

Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) warned on CNN’s “The Situation Room” Wednesday that it would be “extremely dangerous” to allow the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to expire without reauthorization.

Liberal host Wolf Blitzer asked, “Are American lives at risk if Congress doesn’t reauthorize FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?”

McCaul answered, “I 100% agree with Director Wray,” and listed a couple of his career bona fides for national security. “ In my prior life, I was a federal prosecutor after 9/11 on counterterrorism. I worked with the FBI on FISA warrants. We stopped a lot of bad things from happening.”

“If we do not reauthorize FISA tomorrow and we go dark it will put American people in jeopardy and put them at risk at a time when the world is actually becoming more and more dangerous,” McCaul continued. “Whether there will be Hamas out of the Middle East and Iran or the jihadists in Afghanistan. This is the wrong time to play politics with this.”

Blitzer brought up negotiations over the renewal term, “The holdouts on FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act appear to be warming to some modifications, namely that the new version of the bill be that two-year reauthorization instead of what so many want, that five-year authorization. Are you — you’re okay with the two-year window, at least as a minimum?”

McCaul said, “I will take it to a reauthorization rather than letting FISA expire. That would be extremely dangerous to let that happen.”

Congress reauthorized FISA Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives, passing Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) scaled-back bill to renew the act for a two-year term.

Conservatives opposed the passage of the bill without warrant requirements to Section 702, to safeguard American constitutional rights against inadvertent federal surveillance of U.S. citizens as it conducts its national security operations overseas.

“The constitutional liberties of Americans have to come first, we don’t suspend the constitution for anything,” said Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), chair of the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday. “That has to be the premium, protecting American’s constitutional liberties.”

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