“Given that we expect to consider reform legislation shortly after we return from recess, it is critical we do not miss this opportunity to amend the law so no future president or presidential campaign must endure similar misuse of surveillance powers.”
“Any legislation devoid of necessary reforms to address the abuses of the intelligence community against a presidential campaign and even our sitting President, including lies and fraud engaged in by top-level FBI officials, misses that mark.”
WASHINGTON — Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Devin Nunes (R-Ca.), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, today sent a letter to Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) urging him to work in a bipartisan manner to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and ensure the intelligence community and law enforcement are deterred from ever again wielding their significant powers for political purposes.
The letter is available here and below.
February 19, 2020
The Honorable Jerrold Nadler
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Nadler:
Our offices have recently been in discussion concerning the impending expiration of various authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). While we are encouraged to hear you are not generally interested in terminating important counter-terrorism authorities set to expire on March 15, 2020, we are at a loss in understanding the apparent lack of any recognition of the FISA abuse which occurred over the last three years, as recently itemized by Inspector General Horowitz: unlawful spying on a U.S. presidential campaign. Given that we expect to consider reform legislation shortly after we return from recess, it is critical we do not miss this opportunity to amend the law so no future president or presidential campaign must endure similar misuse of surveillance powers.
Any legislation devoid of necessary reforms to address the abuses of the intelligence community against a presidential campaign and even our sitting President, including lies and fraud engaged in by top-level FBI officials, misses that mark. Reforms to FISA must ensure that the intelligence community and law enforcement are deterred from ever again wielding their significant powers against a president or presidential campaign based largely on a garbage “dossier” and false “evidence.”
Additionally, it is critical we do not ignore the real reason necessitating FISA reform at this moment in history. A U.S. citizen connected to then-candidate Trump became the target of the most intrusive surveillance our government conducts. The predication for this surveillance against Carter Page was a salacious and unverified “dossier” filled with outright lies. Moreover, and potentially even worse for the integrity of our country’s intelligence apparatus, these lies may have been propagated as Russian disinformation intended to disrupt our presidential election, as described by Russia expert Dr. Fiona Hill in November 2019. People inside the top echelons of our nation’s premier law enforcement agency appear to have allowed their disdain for a presidential candidate to cloud their judgment, eventually submitting to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court surveillance applications predicated on political opposition research that was potentially part of a foreign nation’s malign influence operations.
These abuses can never happen again. The Church Committee of the 1970s addressed illegal surveillance against anti-war protestors, civil rights activists, and others, resulting in the passage of FISA to help protect Americans’ civil liberties from big government gone awry. Today, we once again face the need to correct government surveillance abuse. The abuses that occurred in the Carter Page matter threaten fair elections, which must be unencumbered by concerns that government institutions are actively undermining particular political candidates.
We ask that you continue working in a bipartisan fashion to address FISA reforms, and do not ignore historic abuses directed against the campaign of a President you don’t support. This exercise cannot be partisan, as both parties and all Americans, regardless of political affiliation, should be confident in their own government’s impartiality under the law. That is a line in the sand we must draw together for the American people to regain trust in these venerable institutions.
House Judiciary Committee
House Intelligence Committee