Trump Says ‘Kill FISA’ As Lawmakers Consider Surveillance Reauthorization
Former President Donald Trump is pictured in Massapequa, Long Island on Thursday, March 28, 2024
(Theodore Parisienne/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Ahead of a deadline next week to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), former Donald Trump urged lawmakers on Wednesday to reject the controversial spy program used to monitor non-U.S. citizens abroad.

“KILL FISA, IT WAS ILLEGALLY USED AGAINST ME, AND MANY OTHERS. THEY SPIED ON MY CAMPAIGN!!!” Trump said in an all-caps post to his Truth Social account, along with his initials.

The message came as House Republicans were expected to huddle and talk about the bill, which includes reforms and a five-year authorization to FISA Section 702, after it passed through the Rules Committee on Tuesday. They have until April 19 to reauthorize Section 702 before it sunsets.

While leaders have pressed ahead, conservative and far-left lawmakers sounded off about privacy concerns. One particular reform sought by some Republicans is a warrant requirement for government officials to access collected information for law enforcement purposes.

“I’m with President Trump. FISA has been significantly abused to illegally spy and trample on the privacy rights of millions of Americans,” said Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO). “Time to kill it and get back to the way our Constitution intended things to be! Get a warrant.”

Last-minute alterations to the FISA Section 702 reauthorization bill could jeopardize its chances of advancing through both the House, which is held by Republicans, and the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats.

Preventing a lapse “will take bipartisan cooperation and swift action,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in remarks this week. He added that the Senate “stands ready to jump into action to prevent this important national security authority from lapsing.”

Section 702 got a four-month extension in December as part of a defense spending bill shortly after two FISA proposals got pulled in the House as lawmakers could not agree on how to proceed. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced in a recent letter that the House would try again this week.

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), a proponent of the reauthorization bill his panel helped craft, insisted to CNN over the weekend that it was “not a warrantless surveillance of Americans” as it targets a “select group” of people aboard who pose a national security threat.

Trump, who is again running for president, has criticized the surveillance tool ever since it emerged that the FBI snooped on his 2016 campaign aide Carter Page, using an unverified dossier to obtain warrants under a different part of FISA, Section 701. After much criticism, the bureau unveiled changes to its FISA processes.


Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that he looks forward to discussing the FISA issue with Trump, noting the former president is “not wrong” about misuse of the surveillance tool. He said the FISA 702 reauthorization legislation contains reforms that would “actually kill the abuses” directed at Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“There are massive new, for example, criminal and civil penalties for using opposition research or leaking FISA applications or illegal spying. If an FBI agent or an attorney is involved in something like that, under these reforms in this reform package, they could get 10 years of jail time,” he said.

“That’s real teeth,” Johnson added. “And there’s a number of other reforms and measures in there. President Trump used the intel from this program to kill terrorists and we have to kill the abuses.”

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