House Plans To Finally Address FISA Abuse

In the wake of growing scrutiny over federal surveillance practices, bipartisan discussions are underway in the House to revise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). These talks come as certain powers granted by the Patriot Act are due to sunset at the end of 2023.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) has emerged as a key proponent of safeguarding the privacy of Americans. He asserts the necessity of stiffer penalties for those who misuse surveillance authority. “We’ve got, I think, strong agreement amongst members of the Intel Committee and members of the Judiciary Committee. And frankly, some Democrats as well, that there needs to be stronger penalties if you abuse the system,” Jordan told Just the News.

At the heart of the matter is Section 702 of FISA, which currently allows the FBI to access and query a database of phone communications without first securing a warrant. This has raised significant concerns about the protection of citizens’ private conversations.

The urgency for reform escalated when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court disclosed the FBI’s extensive use of FISA. Over the course of two years, the agency employed the act over 200,000 times to probe Americans’ phone records. “There needs to be more transparency, more accountability, more audits and reporting to Congress and to the American people,” Jordan stressed.

Moreover, Jordan is advocating for a crucial alteration in the law mandating a warrant for any search of information about American citizens. This suggestion is finding support within the Judiciary Committee, hinting at a collaborative effort between Republicans and Democrats to address this fundamental issue.

Originally instituted in the Cold War era to monitor foreign nationals, Section 702 has come under fire for its expanded use in the post-9/11 age. The intent to use FISA for national security has seemingly drifted, at times, toward political maneuvering. “There’s gonna be major reform to not just 702 but I think the entire FISA,” Jordan announced, intending to enact these changes within the next two months.

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