US & World

White House Supports Warrantless Spying On Americans

Fourth Amendment be damned …

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U.S. President Joe Biden‘s national security advisor Jake Sullivan advocated against an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which would require law enforcement personnel to obtain a warrant to access the secretly collected electronic data of United States citizens.

Sullivan’s statement comes after U.S. house speaker Mike Johnson cancelled a vote on a bill aimed at reforming section 702 of FISA. Section 702 gives the government broad legal authority to secretively collect electronic data and communications.

A December 2019 U.S. Department of Justice Office (DOJ) inspector general report detailed the inappropriate use of the FISA court to spy on staffers of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. According to that document (.pdf), George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn were surveilled on the basis of a fabricated dossier paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

This surveillance gave politicized DOJ officials direct access to the Trump team’s emails, phone calls and text messages. The results of this dragnet were shared directly with former president Barack Obama, among others.

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According to the report, FBI agents “omitted information” about the source of the dossier, “overstated” the credibility of the source of the dossier. Former Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) attorney Kevin Clinesmith has since pled guilty to doctoring documents used to secure the warrant.

The gross perversion of due process by politicized DOJ officials sufficiently scared lawmakers as to engender bipartisan support for FISA reform. Republican House judiciary chairman Jim Jordan joined with ranking Democrat Jerry Nadler to put forward a bill adding some guardrails to the FISA process.

Under their proposal, written justification for how a FISA query is run would be required for approval.

Jordan has publicly said the bill should go further.

“It’s not just good enough to say, ‘We have better rules for them to follow,’” he said. “You can have the best rules in place, but if they already demonstrated they won’t follow them, that’s not enough.”

Speaking during a rules committee hearing he argued, “that’s why you need a warrant.” 

While legislators are still at odds over exactly how to reign in the unaccountable secret spying program, the White House has delivered a clear message: It doesn’t want to get a warrant to query data collected from law abiding Americans.

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The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is unequivocal.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Yet the White House equivocated, Sullivan saying “a warrant requirement from our perspective would go too far in undermining the very purpose of FISA.”

FISA has doubtlessly been used legitimately in furtherance of the legitimate National Security interests of the United States, but it has also demonstrably been used to extralegally pursue a fabricated investigation of political opponents.

The intelligence community can no longer legitimately claim to be acting solely on nonpartisan national security interests, and even if they could, can not make a rational case that FISA as currently implemented is not violative of the Fourth Amendment.

The White House’s official support of limitless authority for extraconstitutional law enforcement misadventures underscores the importance of the legislature curtailing the authority granted in section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: Travis Bell)

Dylan Nolan is the director of special projects at FITSNews. He graduated from the Darla Moore school of business in 2021 with an accounting degree. Got a tip or story idea for Dylan? Email him here. You can also engage him socially @DNolan2000.

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2 comments

Spoiler Alert February 19, 2024 at 11:24 am

Pre-2001: White House definitely does NOT support warrantless spying on Americans, honest to Jeebus, pinky swear, cross my heart and hope to die! Any claims to such actions by government must surely be pinko commie scum lies!

2001: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2004: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2008: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2012: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2016: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2020: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2024: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2028: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2032: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2036: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.
2040: White House supports warrantless spying on Americans.

I mean I could go on but, well, I’m trying to keep my folder at the NSA small so my taxes don’t have to pay for more servers.

Reply
GQP’s sole purpose February 19, 2024 at 3:57 pm

Quit committing so many crimes and traitorous acts and you don’t have to worry about the federal government coming after you.

George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn were all found guilty of crimes related to helping foreign governments. No conspiracy there. Just crimes.

The GQP is nothing more than a criminal organization working against the best interests of America. Thousands of GQP voters are in prison for attacking the Capitol. The GQP is led by a rapist, fraud and insurrectionist. Those are facts determined by multiple courts, in multiple jurisdictions.

Of course criminals are going to complain about being exposed by law enforcement. And that’s what this blog post is all about. Covering up for criminals.

Reply

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