Rand Paul threatens to filibuster over FISA surveillance program

Delia Watkins
January 12, 2018

Earlier, the House rejected a measure that would have imposed stiffer restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Trump walked back the tweet roughly two hours later, drawing a distinction between "unmasking" - a term used to denote the practice of revealing the identity of Americans who communicate with foreign surveillance targets - and the surveillance of "foreign bad guys". But in an apparent clean-up operation, Trump was forced to fire off a tweet declaring this of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: "We need it!"

One of his tweet suggested that the foreign intelligence program was used to collect information that might have been used to taint his campaign.

Asked by Reuters at a conference in NY about Trump's tweets, Rob Joyce, the top White House cyber official, said there was no confusion within the Oval Office about the value of the surveillance programme and that there have been no cases of it being used improperly for political purposes.

The House will vote on both bills today.

The program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows US spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the United States.

A proposed amendment to Section 702 to require authorities to obtain court warrants failed 233-183 with support from libertarians and privacy advocates. Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

A White House spokesman did not reply to an inquiry asking whether Trump wants the House to vote against reauthorizing FISA.

As noted by Matthew Gertz of Media Matters, Trump's Thursday morning tweet appeared to be inspired by a Fox & Friends segment featuring Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who urged Trump not to support FISA reauthorization.

Insisting that "everybody knows" that Trump has concerns with "other parts" of FISA than what the House voted to renew Thursday, Ryan defended Trump's familiarity with FISA despite the President's contradictory tweets. It remains to be seen if Trump is actually thinking about changing that position, but if he did, it would obviously represent a very significant development for the controversial program, and Trump of course has veto power over such things. The bill now moves to the Senate, where Kentucky Republican Rand Paul has said he may attempt a filibuster unless the spy authority is weakened.

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- The White House ban on staffers using personal cellphones in the West Wing will go into effect next Tuesday, according to an internal memo sent Wednesday by chief of staff John Kelly.

Watch above, via Fox News.

The dossier examines ties between Russian Federation and Trump and his aides.

There is also no evidence Trump or his campaign were illegally surveilled, or "wiretapped", as he grossly claimed early a year ago, and was unable to prove. He has offered no proof for such claims.

In his second tweet Trump seemed to backtrack, pushing for the act to be re-upped.

The Section 702 program was originally approved by Congress in 2008 to increase the government's ability to track and thwart foreign terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Trump wrote on Twitter.

In a statement late Wednesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration "strongly opposes" the privacy amendment and called for it to be rejected.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that tips are flooding into the FBI by the thousands.

Schiff said the FBI's statement to aides makes sense because the vast majority of queries of the database were for national security cases, which fall outside the warrant requirement.

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