At a time when concerns over the weaponization and power of the federal government have grown, lawmakers in the House are brainstorming legislation to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), curtailing the ability of federal agencies to snoop in on Americans’ phone records without warrants.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is leading the charge to protect Americans’ private information.
“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 recently told Just the News.
Jordan added that his primary focus is on Section 702 of FISA, which allows agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to establish a database of phone communications that they can search without a warrant.
AT LONG LAST – House GOP crafting major FISA reform to block snooping on Americans’ phone records without warrants
Jordan, Biggs say bipartisan support beginning to form around first substantive changes since post-9-11 era.
The effort is on track to be wrapped up by the end of… pic.twitter.com/bWkhLbPQUc
— BelannF (@BelannF) November 4, 2023
Recently, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) unveiled records detailing that the FBI used FISA more than 200,000 times to spy on Americans’ phone records over two years, generating a whirlwind of controversy over the use of the law and whether the agency is exceeding its power.
“There needs to be more transparency, more accountability, more audits and reporting to Congress and to the American people,” Jordan said. “So I think we have broad agreement there that those kind of fundamental changes have to happen.
“But then the real question, maybe the more fundamental question is do we require a warrant before you can actually query any information regarding American citizens?” he added. “I think you should. That’s where the Judiciary Committee members are, and we’re going to try to work through that issue.”
Jordan emphasized the need to reform Section 702, which was initially created during the onset of the Cold War, allowing U.S. government agencies to spy on foreign nationals entering the country or living outside of it.
“There’s gonna be major reform to not just 702, but I think the entire FISA,” the Ohio congressman said. “Our goal here is in the next two months.”
On the surface, this component of the law doesn’t sound too shabby, but after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the enhancement of the Patriot Act, FISA has been used for political reasons rather than for national security.