Republicans in Revolt as Speaker Mike Johnson Moves to Punt Deep State Surveillance Fight to 2025

FILE - House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., talks with reporters at the Capitol in Washingto
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Republicans are in revolt as Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) moves to punt a deep state surveillance authorization fight to 2025.

Johnson backtracked and caved to the deep state and Democrats on Thursday, agreeing to slip a surveillance authorization into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Conservatives are increasingly calling foul on the move, suggesting it adds to evidence that nothing is getting better under Johnson’s leadership.

“That’s a full-on strike two and a half — if not more,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) said, alluding to baseball’s three strikes and you’re out rule.

Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA), who was one of the NDAA conferees who was supposed to negotiate the details of the bill, said he was frustrated after not being able to participate in the negotiations.

“If you’re going to do all that behind doors, then don’t waste our time by making us look like we’re doing something we’re not. I think that’s what people are so tired of up here,” Collins said.

Beyond the politics of shutting out lawmakers who were supposed to negotiate the NDAA, privacy experts believe that the NDAA could very likely extend Section 702 authority until April 2025, all but removing any leverage for lawmakers to reform the controversial deep state surveillance law.

“House and Senate leaders have attached a reauthorization of Section 702 to the NDAA. It purports to be a “short-term” reauthorization until April 19 2024, but make no mistake: leaders are actually extending this abuse-ridden authority INTO APRIL 2025,” Elizabeth Gotein, a codirector at the Brennan Center for Justice, wrote on Wednesday:

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who sponsored the Government Surveillance Reform Act with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), wrote, “It’s a cowardly move to reauthorize FISA on the back of the NDAA. Americans hate warrantless surveillance of their fellow citizens by their own government.”
Adam Brandon, the president conservative grassroots organization FreedomWorks, said in a statement on Thursday:

We have some whiplash right now over FISA and NDAA. Initially, Speaker Johnson has been all over the map on whether or not he would ram through a short-term reauthorization of FISA in NDAA. The conference report for NDAA may say that this extension of FISA runs through April 19, but, in reality, this is a year-long extension. The intelligence community will seek recertifications for existing orders to collect information under FISA. Those recertifications will last for a full year. That means that this extension of FISA will continue to use existing law that allows the FBI to warrantlessly search Americans’ communications through April 19, 2025.

The use of FISA to warrantlessly search Americans’ communications isn’t a theoretical notion. FISA has been used to wrongfully spy on everyone from donors to a congressional campaign to protesters to members of Congress without a warrant.

We’ve known for six years that FISA would expire. This isn’t exactly a surprise to anyone. Using a ‘must-pass’ bill like NDAA to reauthorize FISA is legislative malpractice. We urge members of the House and the Senate to vote against NDAA and to support the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, which would reauthorize FISA while bringing reforms that protect Americans’ privacy, end warrantless surveillance, and hold the intelligence community accountable [emphasis added].

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who sponsored the House Judiciary Committee-advanced Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA), wrote, “I urge Speaker Johnson to immediately bring my legislation to the House Floor for a vote.”

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


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