Grassley: Feds in Clear Need of More Supervision on FISAs
May 14, 2020
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today supported legislation improving oversight and accountability mechanisms in the FBI’s surveillance authorities. The USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, which passed the Senate today, includes an amendment cosponsored by Grassley to better safeguard the civil liberties when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is used to investigate American citizens.
“We entrust our intelligence community with powerful surveillance tools to defend our freedom and liberty at home. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how those tools have been misused to erode the civil liberties of unsuspecting and innocent Americans. The FBI’s repeated failures and cavalier use of these tools prove the need for additional supervision of the FISA process. I’m pleased that today’s legislation, as amended in the Senate, moves in the right direction.
“This bill includes some reforms to better safeguard Americans against such abuses while preserving tools designed to keep us safe from national security threats. But this cannot be the end of the story. The Justice Department has not yet completed its evaluation of the events that allowed for the abuses to happen in the first place. The Inspector General is also still doing its own audit of the FISA process. The government must learn from its own mistakes if it expects the people to allow these powerful authorities to continue,” Grassley said.
The bipartisan amendment, authored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), improves oversight of the FISA process by expanding the role of a third party advocate for civil liberties during secret court proceedings and requiring new certifications to the secret court that the information the government is relying upon to seek a surveillance warrant on a citizen is complete and accurate.