AG Barr Endorses House FISA Reauthorization Bill

Attorney General William Barr voiced his support on March 11 for the passage of the House bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The attorney general said that the bill plugs the gaps in the current law, which allows for the surveillance abuses identified in the DOJ inspector general report on the departments spying on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“The bill contains an array of new requirements and compliance provisions that will protect against abuse and misuse in the future while ensuring that this critical tool is available when appropriate to protect the safety of the American people,” Barr said in a statement.

Barr said the bill includes several provisions put forth by himself and FBI Director Christopher Wray in response to the inspector generals report. The FBI is already implementing a range of reforms in response to an order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

President Donald Trump told Republican lawmakers earlier this month that he would not support a reauthorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without reforms to prevent the abuses that took place during the 2016 presidential election. It is not clear if the reforms the House FISA bill includes would be satisfactory to Trump, who has said he wants to make sure that the surveillance operation used on his campaign doesnt happen to a future candidate or president. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

A pair of conservative Republican lawmakers close to the president slammed the House bill on March 11, leaving open the possibility that Trump may eventually oppose it.

“The Deal on FISA is weak sauce diluted & made impotent by A.G. Barr,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) wrote on Twitter. “None of the reforms prevent secret FISA court from abusing the rights of Americans. None of the reforms prevent a President of either party from a politically motivated investigation. Big Disappointment!”

“The House FISA deal doesnt fix whats wrong with FISA,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) wrote on Twitter. “It would not have stopped the spying that occurred against [the president]. I will do everything I can to oppose it in the Senate. If it passes [Trump] should veto it.”

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