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Trump Creates FISA Confusion
Mixed Messages On Eve Of Re-authorization Vote
By Ray Cunneff
January 11, 2018
Moments ago, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a six-year re-authorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, otherwise known as FISA. But it passed with no thanks to President Donald Trump, who created last-minute chaos by tweeting earlier this morning completely contradictory statements about it.
As he did earlier this week in his now-infamous 55-minute video-op for the press in the White House cabinet room, where he demonstrated an utter lack of understanding of the issues involving DACA, immigration reform and "the wall", as well as how easily he can be swayed to contradictory positions by the person he's talked to last, it became painfully clear that the takeaway was "I'm not a president, I just play one on TV".
He did the same thing this morning on the FISA re-authorization tweeting:
"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.' This is the act that may have
been used with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil
and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?"
Congressional Republicans, anxious to get the sometimes controversial and often misunderstood Section 702 re-authorized in the interest of national security, were thrown into disbelief and confusion and demanded clarification before the vote.
Trump has been critical of "unmasking," a term used to describe revealing identities through "incidental collection" of Americans who were communicating with foreign officials under surveillance by the US intelligence community. This became embroiled in Trump's February 2017 claim that President Obama had wiretapped him in Trump Tower, demanding Congress to investigate.
The disbelief came because Trump's own White House had issued a statement on Tuesday in support of the bill, saying that Section 702 "is vital to keeping the nation safe" and that reauthorizing the bill before its expiration January 19th "is a top priority of the administration."
Ninety minutes after his first tweet, Trump attempted to put out the fire he started:
"With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process
since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys
on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!"
Granted, there has been some confusion about exactly what FISA 702 does and does not do. I've attached an article I wrote in March, 2017 about FISA, "un-masking" and "incidental collection".
Comey Confirms FBI Probe Into Trump-Russia Collusion, by Ray Cunneff
In light of today's testimony by FBI Director James Comey and NSA and NSA Director Mike Rogers, the issue of "Incidental Collection" of intelligence gathering inadvertently involving U.S. citizens is once again a part of the discussion of Trump's debunked wiretap claims and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and ....×