Paul Ryan: ‘An American’s Civil Liberties May Have Been Violated’

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a weekly press conference on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. Ryan defended the president after Trump weighed in on the controversial program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). (Photo by Zach …
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Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement on Friday in the wake of the FISA memo’s public release, arguing that, “an American’s civil liberties may have been violated.”

Speaker Ryan said on Friday:

The matter of concern outlined in this memo is a specific, legitimate one. Our FISA system is critical to keeping America safe from real and evolving threats. It is a unique system with broad discretion and a real impact on Americans’ civil liberties. Unlike most judicial proceedings, the FISA system depends not on an adversarial process, but instead on the government providing a complete presentation of the facts and circumstances underlying its warrant applications. It is clear from this memo that didn’t happen in this case, and as a consequence an American’s civil liberties may have been violated. I also have serious concerns with the practice of using political documents funded by a candidate’s political opponents to make law enforcement and counter-intelligence decisions. Amid all the political rancor, we must be able to work together to ensure the FISA system works as intended and Americans’ rights are properly safeguarded. I am glad that this memo helps to provide greater transparency, and I reiterate my support for the similar release of the minority’s memo once it is properly scrubbed of all intelligence sources and methods.

The memo describes how senior Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials used the unverified Trump dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on Trump campaign staffer Carter Page. The memo also details how those senior officials in the DOJ and the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on how the Trump dossier was actually opposition research funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Ryan added, “It is critical that we focus on specific actions and specific actors and not use this memo to impugn the integrity of the justice system and FBI, which continue to serve the American people with honor.”

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