FISA will not be abolished: Democrats and Republicans agree to extend it

Republicans and Democrats unveiled new legislation Tuesday night promising that it will reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

The USA Freedom Reauthorization Act contains multiple revisions, including enhanced congressional oversight of the FISA process, penalties for those who abuse the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) process for political purposes and the requirement to have transcripts of court proceedings.

Both Rep. Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. Jordan (R-OH) lauded the new bill as the best way to move forward and meet the deadline for re-authorization of the FISA bill before March 15 expiration.

At issue are three surveillance provisions that are set to expire March 15, including one that permits the FBI to obtain court orders to collect business records on subjects in national security investigations. Another, known as the “roving wiretap” provision, permits surveillance on subjects even after they’ve changed phones, and to monitor subjects who don’t have ties to international terrorist organizations.

Republican Jim Jordan said that the bill “represent real reform.” The revisions, he said, are much better than the current FBI surveillance tools that have come into focus with the botched FBI application to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in the Russia probe.

“This bill before us represents real reform to the FISA program. These reforms have long been necessary but have been especially warranted in recent years, given the FBI spying on the Trump campaign affiliate Carter Page,” said Jordan.