In the wake of Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign — which revealed abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process — Independent Justin Amash took aim at those in Congress who have failed to institute reforms.
“There was no oversight, just cheerleading,” he tweeted in response to a question on how the United States Intelligence Community committees failed to see the “extensive problems” with FISA.
“Almost nobody cared until there was a partisan benefit to caring. Those of us who worked to rein in FISA and reform the process (I led the charge multiple times) were denounced by GOP (and Dem) leaders, who insisted it was all fine.”
Amash also claimed that most Republicans joined Democrats on Wednesday to reauthorize intelligence activities. He added that Trump will support the effort.
Per Reason‘s Twitter account, the libertarian-leaning congressman has been fighting FISA abuse for years. He previously offered an amendment to stop the act’s use against Americans for crimes that having nothing to do with national security or terrorism, but Trump threatened a veto. Eventually, the president reportedly signed a law that gave the government more power to spy on Americans.
Back in June, Amash used a Twitter thread to outline the bipartisan coalition he has been leading in Congress to prevent the government from expanding the powers of agencies like the FBI and NSA and ensuring they cannot engage in the warrantless collection of American communications.
Amash amendment to fix unconstitutional FISA program did not pass. SAD! pic.twitter.com/oN8s4uzyzy
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) January 11, 2018
The 39-year-old took aim at Trump’s White House for “undermining” the movement to combat unconstitutional surveillance and accused them of attempting to frame concerns with surveillance as problems with specific individuals at the FBI, as opposed to issues with FISA itself.
“The Trump administration’s narrative allows the White House to complain about FISA abuse while at the same time fighting those of us in Congress who are actually trying to change the laws to prevent unconstitutional spying on Americans.”
The IG report revealed numerous abuses of the FISA process, which George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley called “damning” for the FBI and “unsettling” for the rest of the world. Turley noted that the case presented to FISA court to secure a wiretap of former Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser Carter Page used Christopher Steele’s dossier after the Department of Justice (DOJ) could not find probable cause for the surveillance. Notably, the DOJ allegedly failed to vet important information and sources in the dossier, and, as reported by National Review, the FBI did not inform the court that the dossier was unreliable.