FISA: Sen. Josh Hawley Moves to End FBI ‘Power Grab’ Under Newly-Revised Surveillance Bill

‘I’ve introduced an amendment to stop this new power grab before it’s too late,’ Mr. Hawley said.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is attempting to end the FBI’s “power grab” and has introduced an amendment to a revised version of a bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

In a post on the social media platform X on Thursday, the Missouri senator said the federal government “doesn’t deserve more open-ended surveillance authority” and must be stopped.

Mr. Hawley noted he has introduced an amendment to the reauthorization that aims to reign in the government’s surveillance authority under the renewed act.

It comes after lawmakers in the House last week agreed to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA, which grants intelligence agencies broad authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreigners located outside of the United States.

The act also compels communications service providers to hand over foreign intelligence information or data to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Government officials say the information collected under Section 702 is used to “protect the United States and its allies from hostile foreign adversaries, including terrorists, proliferators, and spies, and to inform cybersecurity efforts.”

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The bill passed by lawmakers last week reauthorizes the FISA spying authority for two years.

Concerns for Ordinary Americans

That vote came despite FISA coming under renewed scrutiny in the wake of alleged abuses, with lawmakers pointing to the fact that many Americans may be swept up in the surveillance if they communicate, whether knowingly or unknowingly, with a foreign target.

According to a court order issued last year by the FISA court, the FBI abused its authority under the law nearly 300,000 times in 2020 and 2021.

Republicans had pushed, albeit to no avail, to ensure the renewal ensured agencies, including the FBI, secured warrants before potentially spying on Americans’ communications, including their emails, text messages, and phone calls.

Additionally, the Turner Amendment to the renewal, which is sponsored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) and committee ranking member Jim Himes (D-Conn.), poses further issues, according to Mr. Hawley, who warned the government’s authority to collect data has been vastly expanded.

“This part of the House bill gives the FBI the power to press even MORE individuals into helping facilitate government surveillance. Could your landlord or your handyman be sharing your info with the FBI? Maybe,” Mr. Hawley wrote of the amendment.

Specifically, under the amendment, the definition of electronic service provider has been updated to include “any other service provider who has access to equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store wire or electronic communications.”

The amendment lists “food service establishments,” such as restaurants, and cafes, “dwellings” and “community facilities” as those who are expected to comply with the requirement.

Former President Donald Trump appears ahead of the start of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15, 2024. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump appears ahead of the start of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15, 2024. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

FBI ‘Abused Power’ in Trump Probe

However, the provision is broad in nature and could mean that anyone with access to a wifi router, server, or mobile phone could be required to hand over communications that will help the government surveil various individuals, The Guardian reports.

The Senate voted 67 to 37 to advance the House-passed FISA reauthorization bill on Thursday.

In his post on X, Mr. Hawley questioned who was being granted more power by making FISA broader, to which he concluded the answer was the FBI, an agency that he said has “repeatedly proven they don’t deserve it.”

“Remember the Durham report? It found the FBI abused their power to open an investigation into the Trump campaign,” the lawmaker wrote, referencing special counsel John Durham’s report into the FBI’s probe into alleged links between President Trump and Russia.

“The FBI’s record on Section 702 is just as bad,” he continued, noting its nearly 300,000 abuses. “This is the same FBI the House decided to give even MORE power to. It’s insane. And it must be stopped.”

Mr. Hawley did not provide further details regarding his amendment.

“Bottom line: the government doesn’t deserve more open-ended surveillance authority. I’ve introduced an amendment to stop this new power grab before it’s too late,” the lawmaker concluded.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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