Lee Introduces FISA Reforms to Prevent Politicization

Lee Introduces FISA Reforms to Prevent Politicization

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
|
February 13, 2024

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has been under fire from House Republicans for apparent politicization and abuse by employees. To this end, Representative Laurel Lee (R-FL) has introduced legislation ahead of its renewal promising significant reforms.

Named the Reforming Intelligence and Securing American (RISA) Act, Rep. Lee's bill would introduce several amendments to current FISA statutes. First, the Attorney General (AG) would be required to tighten standards for FISA applications, including greater penalties for abuse and violations.

Additionally, the RISA Act would "add significant reporting and transparency requirements so that Congress can properly conduct oversight of the intelligence community," along with other provisions.

In her press release, Rep. Lee stated, "FISA is an indispensable tool that protects us from national security threats within the United States and abroad," and added, "The RISA Act will bring meaningful change to surveillance operations that protects us against adversarial threats in addition to safeguarding our civil liberties. This bill also increases transparency in surveillance applications and will hold government employees accountable who violate the authorities in FISA."

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been subject to scrutiny since 2018 when the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) supposedly abused their powers to request a FISA warrant to spy on former President Donald Trump for the now-discredited "Russian collusion" narrative.

Five years later in July 2023, Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sparred with FBI Director Christopher Wray over allegations of FISA abuse by FBI agents, who supposedly made use of warrantless search powers over 278,000 times against American citizens, some of which were conducted for "improper personal reasons."

In the same hearing, Lee also grilled Director Wray about the FBI supposedly tagging concerned parents at school board meetings as a threat, which Wray said was "not an investigative tool, it's an administrative function in our system, and it doesn't change anything about how we investigate."

Nevertheless, Wray denied that the FBI surveilled specific parents who attended school board meetings for their kids.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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