Dems delay FISA update bill after Lofgren pushes for changes

Rep. Zoe Lofgren says proposed reforms don't go far enough and 'we are missing an opportunity.'

2/26/2020

The Judiciary Committee has postponed a high-profile meeting Wednesday after a last-minute maneuver by a top committee Democrat threatened to sink a months-long effort to revise and reauthorize surveillance authorities due to expire next month

Rep. Zoe Lofgren says proposed reforms don't go far enough and 'we are missing an opportunity.'

WhatsApp The Judiciary Committee has postponed a high-profile meeting Wednesday after a last-minute maneuver by a top committee Democrat threatened to sink a months-long effort to revise and reauthorize surveillance authorities due to expire next month. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) had been prepared Wednesday to offer five amendments that would reform the Watergate-era law, known as FISA, that senior House Democrats see as "poison pills" that would doom the bill in the House. Her push rankled top Democrats, who said her proposals would upend months of delicate negotiations that resulted in a bill backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif). Advertisement The staffs of both committees had also consulted extensively with intelligence community officials and outside civil liberties advocates like the ACLU to forge a delicate compromise. The measure was expected to pass the committee Wednesday, setting up a House floor vote to reauthorize the program before it expires on March 15. That timeline is now in jeopardy as Democrats are forced to confront an unexpected division in their ranks. There had been staff level discussions between Lofgren's staff and the committees negotiating the bill, who believed until Tuesday that there would be no amendment effort. "The committee and Chairman Nadler have been working very carefully in intense negotiation for months with all the interest groups and had worked out a very carefully negotiated reform bill of FISA," one senior Democratic aide said, noting that the alliance between Nadler and Schiff had been the product of talks that occurred in earnest even as both committees were deeply involved in the impeachment process. But before the meeting was postponed, Lofgren rejected the notion that her amendments jeopardized the measure's chances of passing the House. "I reject that categorization of what we’re doing here," Lofgren said in a phone interview. "We’re making policy. This isn’t some game where side deals that are done in secret without the concurrence of the committees of jurisdiction is somehow binding on the members of the committee." The FISA law includes provisions relied on by the FBI and NSA to aid terrorism investigations. Three of those provisions are due to expire on March 15. But the complexity of the law, its implications for civil liberties and recent questions about the FBI's handling of the FISA process raised in a watchdog report, have complicated effort to renew them. President Donald Trump, in particular, is viewed as a wildcard in the debate. He has railed against his own intelligence officials for what he contends was an illegal FISA spying operation on his 2016 campaign. An inspector general's report in December described significant failures by the FBI in obtaining a FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page in late 2016, weeks after he departed the Trump campaign as a foreign policy adviser. Trump's allies in Congress have hammered the FBI and intelligence officials for those failures and suggested there should be major changes to the law to prevent abuses. Read more: POLITICO

Misleading headline. She's made moderate adjustments to FISA bill. Not exactly an explosion. Can I have back the few minutes it took from my life to read that article? It was like a restaurant review without mentioning what food was good. There was zero explanation of what was in the amendments being offered.

What are her amendments Anything that nadler or the wreakless schiff needs to be looked at again..

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