Republicans Hate Surveillance on Trump, but Sound Like They’ll Renew the PATRIOT Act

If Republicans have any appetite for reining in domestic surveillance that they describe as a massive violation of the civil liberties of Donald Trump’s associates, it wasn’t on display when FBI Director Christopher Wray made his first appearance on Capitol Hill since the damning Justice Department inspector general’s report into the Trump-Russia investigation. That’s a real issue considering next month’s expiration of several intrusive surveillance measures contained in the 2001 PATRIOT Act’s Section 215. One of those measures, the business records provision, permits broad FBI collection of records from service providers about an investigative target without that target ever knowing about it. But few Republicans at Wednesday’s hearing who pronounced themselves offended by FBI surveillance abuses in the Trump-Russia probe, known as Crossfire Hurricane, told Wray that they will cost him Section 215. It was reminiscent of how Trump and House intelligence committee Republicans spent 2017 railing against surveillance on Trump’s allies before reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s single most expansive provision in January 2018.Wray, testifying before the House judiciary committee, was in for a rough treatment from the panel’s Republican members. Hanging over his head was Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s findings that the FBI misrepresented information to the secret surveillance court relevant to continuing its surveillance on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. But Wray had a script and he stuck to it. He refused to characterize any aspect of Horowitz’s investigation when legislators of both parties attempted soliciting a soundbite that could help or hurt Trump. Instead, he reiterated variations on a theme: Horowitz’s report “described conduct that is unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution.” Several of the panel’s Republicans, having read Horowitz describe FBI officials misrepresenting their basis for continuing surveillance before a court that almost always hears exclusively from the government, found that …read more

Source:: Yahoo News

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