Controversial Surveillance Legislation Passed by House Intelligence Committee

( – The House passed a critical defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, December 14th. The bill is an annual reauthorization for military spending and costs taxpayers $886 billion. The Senate had passed it the day prior.

The contentious bill was opposed by many conservatives and required a 2/3rds majority to pass, which it was able to get with bipartisan support. The House had 310 members in support with 118 oppositions.

Many former Trump allies, including former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former Attorney General William Barr, pushed for its passage.

Trump critics are concerned that the passage of the law will grant him dictatorial powers in 2025 if he assumes office. Curiously, they also presume he’s going to win the 2024 election.

Conservatives and libertarians opposed the passage of Section 702, which is the infamous warrantless wiretapping and surveillance provision. Critics argue that intelligence agencies have abused their power to spy on American citizens without a warrant in violation of American jurisprudence.

The bill has the support of Joe Biden’s White House, as well as intelligence gurus like Pompeo and Barr. They are united in support of maintaining the government’s surveillance power without any real oversight. Previous claims that the ability was checked by secret FISA courts have been disproven as disingenuous.

Section 702 is controversial because it allows intelligence agencies to circumvent the legal requirement for a warrant to surveil Americans by claiming that the Americans in question are associates of non-citizens who are the actual targets of surveillance. Unfortunately, this power was abused previously.

Carter Page worked as a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign in 2016. The FBI used a FISA court approval to obtain surveillance on Page, but the application was found to be suspicious and misleading after scrutiny by the Department of Justice Inspector General. The application cited the debunked Christopher Steele Dossier which was the initial propaganda used to instigate the Trump-Russian Collusion hoax. Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty to lying to FISA courts to obtain authorization to wiretap Page. He got one year of probation for the crime.

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