Previously Chairman Lindsey Graham promised to hold public hearings on reforms needed to the FISA process prior to any reauthorization vote. However, with two weeks remaining until current FISA authorization expires the Senate Judiciary Committee has yet to hold a single hearing, and the senate calendar is empty.
In November of 2019 buried deep in the congressional budget Continuing Resolution (CR) was a short-term extension to reauthorize the FISA “business records provision”, the “roving wiretap” provision, the “lone wolf” provision, and the more controversial bulk metadata provisions [Call Detail Records (CDR)], all parts of the Patriot Act. As a result of the FISA CR inclusion the terminal deadline was pushed to March 15, 2020.
The Senate is scheduled to go back into recess on March 13th. Additionally, the DOJ/FBI response to the FISA court order (due February 5th) has still not been made public. At a minimum the DOJ/FBI response to the FISA court needs to be made public prior to any reauthorization by congress; and to better understand the scale of the issue, an explanation of the the DOJ/FBI sequestered evidence needs to be made public.
Representatives requesting FISA reform prior to renewal include: Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Doug Collins, Jody Rice, Devin Nunes and Steve Scalise. Additionally, Senator Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul are trying to force reform or let the current version expire. However, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, along with AG Bill Barr, want a clean FISA renewal without public hearings….