Several of the 51 former intelligence officials who signed a letter casting doubt on the authenticity of Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 presidential election are now pushing Congress to enhance the surveillance of Americans, according to a Tuesday letter.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Deputy Director for the National Security Agency (NSA) Richard Ledgett, former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell, former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash and former NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell signed a letter in 2020 arguing that the leak of documents from Biden’s laptop had the “earmarks of a Russian information operation.” The former officials railed against a bill that would limit intelligence agencies’ ability to surveil Americans without a warrant, while praising a bill that would enable surveillance of any location that provides internet access, according to the recent letter to House lawmakers.
“We cannot hamstring the U.S. Intelligence Community either by failing to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or by limiting it in ways that would make it difficult for the government to protect Americans,” the letter states. “To be clear, Section 702 saves American lives and helps keep Americans safe from international terrorist attacks, foreign cyberattacks, overseas fentanyl suppliers, and other threats to our national security. There’s no substitute for it.”
The House Judiciary Committee’s reform to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would broadly prohibit warrantless searches of Americans, according to its text. However, it is “seriously flawed and would hurt our government’s ability to protect Americans in the current heightened threat environment,” the intelligence officials assert in the letter.
Alternatively, the House Intelligence Committee has a bill that would massively expand domestic surveillance by altering the definition of “electronic service communications provider” to cover “equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store such communications,” which would lead to any entity or business that offers an internet connection being required to help with surveillance, according to experts. The former intelligence officials say it “represents a thoughtful alternative approach to Section 702 reforms.”
Instapundit linked this article at RealClearPolitics by Gene Sheer about this “alternative” bill proposed by the House Intelligence Committee goons.
These fascists are really in tune with the GOP voters who elected them when they propose massively expanding the Deep State’s ability to spy on Americans.
First of all, this “reform” is no reform at all. It is barely even disguised as reform.
That culture of deception even seems to infect the so-called FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, proposed this week by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a bill that represents the wish-list of the intelligence community.First, the bill’s marquee “reform” is the prohibition of only a handful of searches or “queries” of information about Americans under Section 702, the authority enacted by Congress to enable foreign surveillance but often used by the government for domestic spying. The type of search the bill would prohibit is “evidence-of-a-crime only” queries. But in 2022, out of over 200,000 queries of Americans’ data, there were only two instances of the FBI accessing Section 702 data under this rubric. And even if that prohibition were in place, the FBI could easily evade it simply by claiming in every instance that agents were looking for some (hypothetical) terror threat in addition to possible crimes.
Wow, what a reform! Out of 200,000 Deep State intrusions into Americans’ personal information, this “reform” would stop two. Except it wouldn’t, because Deep Staters could just categorize these inquires as something else.
If you remember, last week I linked Mike Lee grilling Christopher Wray about this non-reform. I didn’t understand the context of his questions of “evidence of a crime” queries but I do now. Here’s that video again, with Mike Lee asking if these “reforms” would have stopped any of a list of prior abuses Lee rattles off, and Wray either admitting “no” or claiming he’s not sure.
The bill’s non-reform “reform” would thus do nothing to stop the routine snooping on Americans, from 19,000 donors to a congressional campaign, to a House member and a senator, a judge, and numerous protesters of the left and right. Nor would this “reform” prevent known abuses, such as the NSA agents who used this powerful search program to check out online dating prospects and potential tenants.
That’s the so-called “LOVEINT” — “intelligence” searches to find out information about a man or woman you’re interested in, or about the guy who’s banging your ex-girlfriend.
What could actually cut down on that kind of abuse is firing these people and sending them to jail, as the law actually demands, for invading people’s privacy on a false pretense of investigating matters of national security… but of course the Deep State looks out for its own, and these people literally never go to jail and are rarely even fired.
Note that in the Mike Lee interrogation of Wray I linked above, Wray cannot say that any of the FBI agents, or any other Deep State agents at the “intelligence” agents who committed section 702 abuses, have been fired. Because none of them have. (Or so few of them have that he can’t think of any who have been. Mike Lee sure doesn’t seem to think there’s been a single firing.)
And jail? Forget about it!