Trump, Massie Question FISA 702 Vote

The House of Representatives’ attempt to reauthorize and update part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is expected to encounter difficulties thanks to opposition from former President Donald Trump and a few Republican lawmakers.

The U.S. government famously used a part of FISA separate from the one being voted on to undermine Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign. The former president posted on his Truth Social account in response to this vote, implying that lawmakers should “kill” the act entirely.

While Trump has expressed mixed feelings on the act in the past, differentiating FISA 702, which congress is currently voting on, from the part of the act used to target his campaign in the past, this new call to kill FISA 702 may point to larger questions about Americans’ privacy.

While FISA 702 is accepted by most of congress, some detractors, such as Rep. Thomas Massie, (R-KY) oppose the bill for its infringement of Americans’ privacy.

“Congress gives itself a carve out in the reauthorization of FISA 702 warrantless spying on Americans.” He posted on his X account. “The bill requires the FBI to notify and seek consent from Congress before violating the privacy of Congressmen. This will persuade many members of Congress to vote yes.”

Massie is referring to a few parts that Congress added to the reauthorization of the bill:

“The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall promptly notify the appropriate congressional leadership of any query conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation using a query term that is reasonably believed to be the name or other personally identifying information of a member of Congress and shall also notify the member who is the subject of the inquiry.”

And, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation may not for the exclusive purpose of supplementing the contents of a briefing on the defense against a counterintelligence threat to a member of Congress conduct a query that is the name or restricted personal information… of that member unless the member provides consent to the use of the query term.”

In a second post, Massie says, “Ask yourself: If there’s nothing wrong or unconstitutional in this program, why does Congress want a carve out for itself?”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) is working to pass the bill as intended, despite some of his party’s misgivings. Many Republicans claim they won’t support the bill unless it requires a warrant to access Americans’ information.

Whether FISA is a crucial national security tool or an infringement of citizens’ privacy, it’s crucial to ask ourselves, in light of the proposed exemptions to the law, what our legislators have to hide.

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