I’m a fan of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in theory. In practice, it’s an abomination that causes more harm than good. If Spygate and Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report haven’t proven that, then nothing will. But FISA abuses go far beyond what the public generally knows. It’s a tool of oppression that negates our rights and puts innocent American citizens in the crosshairs of the federal government unnecessarily.
It must be reformed. The status quo is unacceptable. If Washington DC is unwilling to take drastic measures to clean up the system and regulate its use against American citizens, then the next best option is to abolish it altogether. Many believe that would actually be the best option, but law enforcement officials as well as many conservative politicians believe it is an invaluable tool in fighting against our enemies. As I said before, the bad far outweighs the good in its current form. Therefore, if it cannot be drastically improved with proper restraints and accountability measures put into place, then we must get rid of it even though there will be consequences. Thankfully, that seems to be on the verge of happening.
For years, there has been tension between privacy advocates, who say government intrusion into the privacy of Americans must be kept in careful check, and those who say that the need to secretly monitor the communications of some targeted citizens is a matter of national security.
Longstanding controversies have been stoked with the recent determination that at least two FBI wiretaps against former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page were improperly obtained. The Justice Department Inspector General found a long list of what he testified were inexplicable and egregious abuses by Department of Justice and FBI officials in the Page wiretaps. That included an FBI attorney allegedly doctoring a document that was presented to the court, an alteration which hid the fact that Page, far from being the Russian agent the government portrayed, was actually a longtime CIA informant supplying the agency with intelligence about Russia.
The Justice Department has now said the questioned wiretaps were “invalid.”
As encouraging as all that sounds, we should categorize this news as believe-it-when-you-see-it. We’ve been told people who have abused FISA in the past would be held accountable. Thus far, that has equated to zero major charges and arrests. It is not encouraging to make promises and not deliver, so at this stage I’m still leaning towards Capitol Hill sweeping the FISA problem under the rug until the next push to fix it.
We, as American citizens, must never allow our representatives to disregard our valid concerns. That’s not to say we need to start a revolt against the government over FISA, but it’s definitely worthy of influencing our election decisions. We’ve gone too long and seen too many abuses for us to let it continue to slide through under the radar. It must be fixed immediately or it becomes incumbent on freedom-loving patriots to vote in representatives who will get it done.
There are millions who believe safety is more important than freedom, that the collective good supersedes the individual’s needs, and that “if you did nothing wrong you should have nothing to hide.” Sorry, but that’s all bull. Actually, I’m not sorry. Fix or end FISA now.
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