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There Are Good Reasons The Founders Required The Government To Obtain Warrants

Updated: Apr 14

Domestic Spying Power Is ALWAYS Abused (Not Sometimes Abused)



I never thought I’d see the day when I was on the same side of an issue as Marjorie Traitor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lauren Boebert (CO), Scott Perry (R-PA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) and on the opposite side from some of the smartest progressives I most respect like Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA). Thankfully, there were plenty of solid progressives on the same side I was on too: AOC (D-NY), Summer Lee (D-PA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN)… But 126 Democrats and 86 Republicans, mostly establishment types, voted against the amendment.


The vote— which lost in a 212-212 tie— was for an amendment by, of all MAGA sociopaths, Andy Biggs (R-AZ), to the FISA legislation that passed Friday. What Biggs’ amendment was meant to do was require warrants to search communications between foreign targets and U.S. persons. A statement from the ACLU explained that without the amendment, the FISA reauthorization will “expand the federal government’s power to secretly spy on Americans without a warrant... When the government wants to obtain Americans’ private information, the Fourth Amendment requires it to go to court and obtain a warrant. The government has claimed that the purpose of Section 702 is to allow the government to warrantlessly surveil non-U.S. citizens abroad for foreign intelligence purposes, even as Americans’ communications are routinely swept up. In recent years, the law has morphed into a domestic surveillance tool, with FBI agents using Section 702 databases to conduct millions of invasive searches for Americans’ communications— including those of protesters, racial justice activists, 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, journalists, and even members of Congress— without a warrant. Despite what some members would like the public to believe, Section 702 has been abused under presidents from both political parties and it has been used to unlawfully surveil the communications of Americans across the political spectrum.”


Predictably, Biggs wigged out, calling the failure of his amendment “a travesty to the constitutional right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. The FBI and the intelligence community as a whole have made clear their willingness to skirt the Fourth Amendment through backdoor searches of Americans’ data. According to the most recently available information published by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the FBI conducted 278,000 warrantless backdoor searches on American citizens in a single year in violation of their self-imposed rules. They improperly searched 19,000 donors to a congressional candidate, Americans on both sides of the aisle attending political protests, journalists and political commentators, Members of Congress, other government officials, and more. Without a warrant requirement, the FBI will continue to push the boundaries of Section 702.”


Biggs is a crank and a freak… but he’s right about this. And his lunatic fringe wing of the GOP conference is flipping out and threatening to help defeat some of their GOP colleagues who voted against the amendment. Matt Gaetz, an enemy of law enforcement in general: “Every one of these members who voted against a warrant requirement, they are the deciding vote. They own it. And some of them may see me showing up in their districts very soon to campaign against them and to stand for the Constitution.”


One Member of Congress, nothing like Biggs or Gaetz, and who voted against the amendment, told me, in confidence, that the White House had briefed her, which is what made her change her mind. “I had a fairly long meeting with the White House. They provided me some use cases of Section 702 that I found compelling… Yes, it’s true that the FBI had abused Section 702. It’s also true that in the last few years the FBI had instituted a series of reforms to stop those abuses. The bill codifies those reforms and in some instances goes further.” She ignored the danger of Trump regaining the White House and concluded by telling me that “the authorization was changed from 5 years to 2 years. I’m willing to look at the reports and the reforms and see what happens in the next 2 years, where we will revisit this issue again.”




UPDATE: WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT?


Another Member of Congress (also a Democrat) read the post and e-mailed me that the member of Congress quoted anonymously above “is mistaken. They haven’t found shit with FISA, at least in my opinion. In my view, the whole thing is a sick joke, with or without warrants. Whatever they are telling people, a lot of judges don’t even read the warrant requests before they sign them. And whom do you think actually gets an appointment to the ‘FISA court?’ The worst suck-ups of all.”

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2 Comments


Guest
Apr 16

The founders had good reasons for lots of things. separation. the bill of rights. list is too long to include.


ignoring the 4th amendment goes right along with you all electing two parties that refuse to honor anything that the founders did. And it includes the 1st amendment on this page.


betraying the 1st repudiates anything else you say about anything else. don't it?

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Considering how easy a warrant is to get, at least in local cases, I fail to understand why this is an issue. Are the magistrates that sign off on these in the pay of ISIL or something?

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