Mast Votes No on FISA Reauthorization, Demands Feds 'Get a Warrant'

Mast Votes No on FISA Reauthorization, Demands Feds 'Get a Warrant'

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
April 13, 2024

Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) shared a rationale for his vote against the recent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Section 702. On Wednesday the bill was killed by 19 House Republicans who claim the legislation would permit warrantless surveillance by the federal government and its agencies.

The Florida congressman described the bill as something that would give “unchecked power” to the U.S. government.

“Section 702, in non-government terms, it’s the portion of FISA that gives unchecked power to the United States government to survey individuals without a warrant. It’s meant to survey people that are foreign,” said Rep. Mast. “These spy powers are used to target foreign nationals abroad with ties to terrorist groups like ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, but we know that these powers can also capture the information of private data of U.S. citizens.”

He continued, “Unfortunately, there have been some very bad actors in the federal government that have used these powers maliciously against Americans. Again, remember, this is a power that is supposed to be used solely against non-American citizens – people abroad. But people in the FBI decided, hey, we’re going to use it against Americans breaking the law. Still, nobody held accountable to this point.”

Furthermore, Rep. Mast brought up the notion that this avenue of surveillance was performed against former President Donald Trump’s (R) campaign in 2016 through allegations of Russian collusion.

“They used it against President Donald Trump with bogus claims of Russian collusion. Y’all remember that and everything we had to go through with Russia and collusion? A lot of that started with these FISA investigations into Donald Trump, who is an American who is somebody they should not have been looking at,” said Mast.

The Florida congressman continued to provide examples of FISA misusing its power.

“The Fourth Amendment of our Constitution makes it abundantly clear that your government cannot conduct unreasonable search and seizure on your property without a warrant from the judge. In fact, in just the year 2022, the FBI conducted more than 200,000 searches of private American data that was swept up by FISA. Again, what does that mean? They weren’t looking at foreigners. They were looking at Americans.

“And let’s be very clear on something else as well: Democrats are using this power to look at Americans that is meant to be used as an apparatus to look at foreign individuals, ISIS, al Qaeda, people like that. They’re using it to look at you and to look at other people that they want to get after … That’s why I voted no on reauthorizing Section 702 of FISA. I’m going to continue to fend off your government from spying on you every place that we could find it,” concluded Mast.

Representative Andy Biggs' (R-AZ) amendment – which would “require federal officials to get a warrant to see data from U.S. citizens in communication with foreign targets” – failed in the House with a vote tally of 212-212. The bill will be voted on again on Monday.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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