Republicans Push for FBI Reform

( – In a move to bolster accountability within the Bureau, the GOP is capitalizing on this window of opportunity, marking the first time since January, to advocate for substantial reforms within the FBI before the year’s end.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, along with fellow Republican committee members, has introduced a proposal to significantly alter how the FBI utilizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Turner’s bill addresses concerns raised by Republicans regarding intelligence issues, including improper wiretaps on Carter Page from Trump’s campaign and illegal leaks that led to the resignation of Trump’s national security adviser, Mike Flynn.

Senators Mark Warner and Marco Rubio, co-sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate Intelligence Committee, propose comparable reforms.

The bill aims to prevent political misuse of intelligence by limiting reliance on questionable “opposition research” and unverified press reports to justify surveillance under FISA. It also seeks to tighten regulations on officials leaking intelligence intercepts, as seen in the case of Flynn, with significant criminal penalties. Additionally, it calls for essential enhancements to the FBI’s internal system for enforcing surveillance rules.

Considering these aspects, it is evident that Republicans have a unique opportunity this month, as Section 702 of FISA is set to expire on December 31st, giving them significant leverage. This expiration could give Congress a better perspective on the secretive FISA wiretapping process, enabling representatives to hold the FBI and other agencies accountable.

Section 702 is a crucial tool for America’s intelligence agencies in the digital age. When foreign drug dealers, terrorists, or spies use American internet services, Section 702 helps collect their data when it enters our country. This approach is safer, cheaper, and more effective than gathering the same information overseas.

The intelligence community emphasizes that Section 702 protects the U.S. from spying on and theft of key technologies by China. It has been vital in stopping cyberattacks, such as the ransomware incident at Colonial Pipeline, and preventing deadly fentanyl from entering the country. Letting Section 702 expire now would be regrettable.

Lawmakers should seize this opportunity to renew Section 702 and advocate for more accountability in America’s intelligence system.

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