Conservatives Call Foul on Move to Extend Deep State Surveillance Authorization in Defense Bill

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 29: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., right, escorts Sp
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House and Senate conservatives on Wednesday sounded the alarm on a potential move by congressional leadership to extend a deep state surveillance law in a defense bill.

“Reauthorization of FISA can’t be hooked to anything. The federal GOV has spied on Americans [who] decided to go to Church or you went to a school board meeting. This needs to end. Reauthorization needs to stand on its own, and have significant reform,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-PA) said during a press conference with the House Freedom Caucus and Senate conservatives. 

The conservatives held their press conference as congressional leaders are contemplating passing a temporary extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which conservatives vehemently oppose.

Breitbart News reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) opposes any extension of Section 702 in the NDAA.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said there is “no reason” for a temporary authorization of Section 702.

Other conservatives also said in no uncertain terms that Section 702 of FISA should not be included in the NDAA.

Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) wrote, “We know that the FBI has abused the FISA process and spied on Americans. With Section 702 of FISA up for renewal this year, a clean reauthorization or extension will only further erode Americans’ lost confidence in their Intel agencies.”

Many conservatives joined progressives on a letter spearheaded by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), calling on Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and other congressional leaders not to include a FISA authorization in the NDAA.

“Section 702 of FISA is a law, which has been abused to spy on Americans. It should not be buried in the NDAA as an attachment. It should take a standalone vote for extension. I joined Rep. @WarrenDavidson and 53 Members of the House in a letter to Congressional leadership demanding that Section 702 of FISA not be attached to the NDAA. There is no need for a short-term extension,” Rep. John Rose (R-TN) said.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) wrote, “The FBI has used FISA as a way to skirt Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Reauthorization of FISA in its current state would only cause further harm to our country. Our government should not be weaponized against Americans.”

Wired’s Dell Cameron reported that senior Democrat and Republican sources say that the House may bypass the Rules and prevent lawmakers from trying to strike the 702 extension from the NDAA.

However, one aide said that the odds of including the extension in the NDAA are waning after it became clear that the Speaker could face significant backlash:

A senior Republican aide tells WIRED the odds of Johnson proceeding with a plan to extend the 702 program using the NDAA have grown slim over the past few days, as it’s become increasingly clear the speaker would face significant backlash from rank-and-file members of his own party, as well as more powerful figures such as Jim Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Matt Gaetz, one of a handful of lawmakers to whom Johnson effectively owes his new position.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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