Several members of the House Judiciary Committee have proposed a bill that would severely overhaul the process by which the intelligence community can spy on American citizens under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Just The News reports that the bipartisan bill was introduced by Congressman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and cosponsored by Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).
If passed into law, the bill would implement restrictions on how many FBI agents could carry out searches under Section 702 of FISA, while also providing a requirement that any law enforcement personnel must seek a warrant in order to gather information on American citizens.
As it stands now, Section 702 allows intelligence officials to conduct surveillance on foreigners overseas without getting a warrant; this can subsequently lead to surveillance on Americans who come into contact with the foreigner being spied upon. It was through this process that the FBI ended up spying on the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, based on false allegations that Trump and his campaign were “colluding” with Russia.
Section 702 is set to expire at the end of this year. Although the new bill has bipartisan support, it is nevertheless expected to cause a major debate within Congress, and may struggle to pass in either chamber, or receive Joe Biden’s signature.
“The intelligence community is attacking our Fourth Amendment privacy rights. Rogue actors continue to abuse FISA Section 702 to improperly spy on American citizens, and it is far past time for the practice to come to an end,” said Congressman Biggs. “The Fourth Amendment guarantees Americans a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the government should never be given the opportunity to skirt the supreme Law of the Land.”
“Reauthorization of this spying authority cannot be tied to a massive piece of ‘must-pass’ legislation like the NDAA,” Biggs continued. “This would be an affront to the American people—who have voiced their strong disapproval of Section 702—and to the integrity of the legislative process.”