FISA reform failed because the point of law is 'to spy on Americans'

 April 12, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A months-long effort to crack down on government spying on Americans, which has been happening under one section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, failed because the point of the law is to "spy on Americans."

That's the explanation from columnist John Daniel Davidson at The Federalist.

The renewal of the law was adopted by the House on Friday, and a plan to require warrants to spy on Americans failed on a 212-212 tie vote.

There still are several procedures pending before it can be moved to the Senate.

It has been controversial because of the probably millions of times that national bureaucracies have used its provisions to spy on Americans.

The commentary explained the law lets U.S. intelligence agencies "spy on foreign nationals based overseas, but it also lets the FBI comb through the massive amounts of data the intelligence community collects and gather information about American citizens."

Those are called "backdoor searches."

It was an odd coalition of conservatives and leftists in Congress that had concerns about that spying.

They wanted to insist the FBI obtain a warrant before searching.

But large numbers of Congress opposed that plan because "the main purpose of the intelligence community’s surveillance programs isn’t to spy on terrorists or foreign adversaries overseas, it’s to spy on American citizens. So of course the intelligence community opposes FISA reforms that would make it harder to spy on Americans."

Especially in the bull's-eye, he said, are "Americans who express views and opinions the government deems to be a threat."

He explained historically, warrantless spying readily was defined as a violation of the Constitution.

"But we’re in a new era now, and the intelligence agencies have no qualms about violating our rights without pretending it has anything to do with national security," he said.

There were multiple plans to reform the law but what ended up being considered was a plan "that masquerades as reform but is carefully designed to preserve the status quo when it comes to backdoor searches."

He noted even the government itself has admitted that during 2021 there likely were well over a million "illegal" searches regarding Americans.

He said powerful opposition to reforms came from insiders "because they use it to spy on Americans all the time."

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