(RepublicanJournal.org) – The US House of Representatives just voted to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), much to the dismay of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY). He and a handful of other lawmakers had hoped to reform the problematic legislation, but the bulk of Congress wanted to push it through without any changes. Massie says lawmakers have effectively thrown away the 4th Amendment, which guarantees Americans’ protections against unlawful search and seizure, with their vote.
Massie joined “The Glenn Beck Program” on December 14 to explain the issue. The representative stated that much of FISA — which authorizes US officials to use electronic surveillance methods to spy on foreign agents who might try to harm American interests — is sound. But it also has loopholes that allow investigators to tap in on the communications of private American citizens. Massie alleges that the government has illegally spied on Americans on 250,000 separate occasions by abusing those legal gaps.
Lawmakers first wanted to attach the vote to a military spending bill to manipulate it through, according to Massie, but he and a couple of other members blocked that move. To force a vote, members bypassed the rules committee and pushed it to the floor, which also meant they would need a two-thirds vote for the reauthorization to pass. A total of 73 Republicans and 45 Democrats voted against the reauthorization, but they needed 140 votes to stop it.
Massie explained that his peers received the impression that they had no choice but to vote for the FISA reauthorization, with other lawmakers insisting that there would be catastrophic consequences if they chose not to fund it. The Kentucky representative said he had a reform bill ready to go, one that would close the loophole and require government agents to obtain warrants in all cases that included surveillance of US citizens’ communications and activities. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) chose to ignore that bill and take FISA directly to the floor.
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