President Donald Trump on Thursday criticized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) hours after the White House press secretary released a statement saying the administration supported the law and opposed an amendment that would impose limits on it.
“‘House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.’ This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
The tweet came shortly after Fox News’ morning show, “Fox & Friends” — which Trump often watches and praises for its coverage of him — ran a segment with the chyron, “House votes on controversial FISA Act today.”
“Mr. President, this is not the way to go,” Judge Andrew Napolitano, a frequent Fox News contributor, said on the show. “Spying is valid to find the foreign agents among us. But it’s got to be based on suspicion and not an area code.”
Trump’s tweet appeared to contradict the statement White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released on Wednesday night, which signaled the administration’s strong support for FISA.
The Trump administration urged the House of Representatives to vote against the “USA Rights” amendment — which would impose limits on the US government’s surveillance authority — “and preserve the useful role of FISA’s Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives,” per the statement.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the contradiction.
Trump attempted to clarify his position in a tweet a little more than an hour later.
“With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!” he said.
Following Trump’s tweets, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, recommended that the FISA bill be temporarily withdrawn.
“In light of the significant concerns that have been raised by members of our caucus, and in light of the irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today, I would recommend that we withdraw consideration of the bill today, to give us more time to address the privacy questions that have been raised, as well as to get a clear statement from the administration about their position on the bill,” Schiff said on the House floor.
“I do this reluctantly — Section 702, I think, is among the most important of all of our surveillance programs,” Schiff continued. “Nonetheless I think the issues that have been raised will need more time to be resolved.”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.