December 17, 2019

Graham: FISA Reform is a ‘top priority for the Judiciary Committee in 2020’

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he will be working on a bipartisan effort to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “to better protect civil liberties” of Americans. The push to reform FISA came after the release of Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s scathing report, which revealed the FBI misled and lied to the secret court to obtain a warrant to spy on Carter Page.

Further on Tuesday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Rosemary Collyer sent a letter to the FBI, chiding the bureau for misleading the court and demanding the FBI address the court’s grievances by Jan. 10.

Graham said in a statement Tuesday that he was  “very pleased to see the FISA court condemn the FISA warrant application and process against Carter Page.”  Page, a short-term campaign volunteer for President Donald Trump, has stated that he will take his case to the Supreme Court. He told this reporter in numerous previous interviews that his life was turned upside down and that he received threats against his life after stories leaked accusing him of being a Russian asset.

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz noted in his report that federal agents purposefully left out from the application that Page had assisted the CIA against Russia, even though they were informed that this was the case. Instead, the FBI agents suggested that he was “an agent of Russia.”

Graham, who has threatened that the FISC may need to be dismantled, noted that “as Inspector General Horowitz’s report describes in great detail, the FISA process falsified evidence and withheld exculpatory evidence to obtain a warrant against Mr. Page on numerous occasions.”

Numerous lawmakers, to include House members, such as Rep. Andy Biggs, chairman of the Freedom Caucus and ranking House Intelligence Committee Republican Rep. Devin Nunes have also called for either the dismantling of the secret court or for full reform of the court when FISA comes up for reauthorization in March.

“As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I’ll be working with my Republican and Democratic colleagues to reform FISA in a fashion to better protect civil liberties while maintaining our ability to monitor foreign surveillance directed against our economic and national security interests,” Graham said in the statement. “FISA reform will be a top priority for the Judiciary Committee in 2020.”