“In November of 2019 buried deep in the congressional budget Continuing Resolution (CR) was a short-term extension to reauthorize the FISA “business records provision”, the “roving wiretap” provision, the “lone wolf” provision, and the more controversial bulk metadata provisions [Call Detail Records (CDR)], all parts of the Patriot Act. As a result of the FISA CR inclusion the terminal deadline was pushed to March 15, 2020:
WASHINGTON – Attorney General William Barr told Senate Republicans on Tuesday that the Trump administration could support a clean extension of contentious surveillance laws set to expire next month. And Barr said he could make changes on his own to satisfy President Donald Trump and his allies who have railed against the use of the law to monitor his 2016 campaign, according to senators at a party briefing.
But Barr also clashed with GOP critics of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has three key provisions set to lapse on March 15.
(…) Republicans emerged from the lunch meeting mostly supportive of a clean extension of the law to avoid a gap; doing so is a top priority of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“The attorney general just wanted to underscore again the importance of these provisions that were enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attack. They’re still relevant to our effort to go after terrorists today like they were after 9/11,” McConnell told reporters.
But Barr also sparred with skeptics, primarily libertarian-leaning Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Barr told Lee his criticisms of surveillance law are dangerous, while Paul said Americans shouldn’t be subject to secret FISA courts, one of the people said.
(…) Senate Republicans prefer kicking a broad FISA debate to as late as 2022, when other pieces of the law expire. In the interim, Barr would make administrative changes to address complaints from conservatives that surveillance authorities were abused during Trump’s campaign — something the president continues to seethe over.
“You’ve got three provisions to deal with. I think it’d be smart to keep them in place. It would give us some time to work on FISA writ large, we’ve got three years,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who is preparing hearings on FISA.
(…) “A lot will happen between now and March 15. We may do a placeholder and take it past March 15. We’ve got to get this right,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “Anybody who reads the Horowitz report on misfire hurricane will understand what I’m talking about.” (read more)
Prior to the December 9, 2019 inspector general report on FISA abuse, FISA Court judges Rosemary Collyer (declassified 2017) and James Boasberg (declassified 2019) both identified issues with the NSA bulk database collection program being exploited for unauthorized reasons. For the past several years no corrective action taken by the intelligence community has improved the abuses outlined by the FISA court.
The sketchy programs, and abuse therein, has public attention yet congressional representatives are not responding to the findings.
Worse still, there is a confluence of current events pointing toward a likelihood Congress and the intelligence apparatus writ large want to reauthorize the FISA surveillance and collection authorities without further sunlight and without public input.
Keep in mind the deadline for the DOJ to respond to the FISA court about the abusive intelligence practices identified in the Horowitz report was February 5th, more than two weeks ago. The responses from the DOJ and FBI have not been made public.
It appears the DOJ is trying to get the FISA reauthorization passed before the FISC declassifies the corrective action outlined from the prior court order. This response would also include information about the “sequestering” of evidence gathered as a result of the now admitted fraudulent and misrepresented information within the FISA applications.
The FISA “business records provision”, the “roving wiretap” provision, the “lone wolf” provision, and the more controversial bulk metadata provisions [Call Detail Records (CDR)], again all parts of the Patriot Act, must not be reauthorized without a full public vetting of the abuses that have taken place for the past several years.
At a minimum the pending DOJ/FBI response to the FISA court needs to be made public prior to any reauthorization by congress. And to better understand the scale of the issue, the consequences when the system is abused, the upstream sequester material needs to be made public.
Let the American public see what investigative evidence was unlawfully gathered, and let us see who and what was exposed by the fraudulently obtained FISA warrants. At a minimum congress and the American people need to understand the scale of what can happen when the system is wrong – BEFORE that exact same system is reauthorized. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 2/25/2020) (Archive)