‘We are also looking at this when it comes to renewing the FISA process within Congress…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, said he plans to push back on a decision by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—colloquially known as the FISA court—to appoint a deep-state, partisan staffer from the Obama Justice Department to oversee FBI reforms mandated by the abuses of the Obama intelligence community.
There need to be answers for why David Kris was picked to oversee FISA reforms. He’s repeatedly downplayed blatant FISA abuse in the past and dismissed the damning IG report’s findings. How can he fix a problem he doesn’t even understand?
Completely unacceptable choice.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) January 12, 2020
David Kris, a former assistant attorney general under Eric Holder, was tapped to be amicus curiae in the reform oversight by presiding FISA judge James Boasberg—himself an Obama judicial appointee who was recently elevated by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
But Kris immediately came under fire for past comments he made disparaging the FBI investigation led by former House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and for a series of tweets in which he downplayed FBI culpability following the release of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz‘s December report on the FISA abuses.
Meadows—one of President Donald Trump’s staunches defenders in the U.S. House of Representatives and a charter member of the Freedom Caucus—echoed concerns tweeted by the president himself after the announcement was made.
You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP! @DevinNunes @MariaBartiromo @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
On Monday, Meadows reiterated on The Sara Carter Show that he and others planned to write a letter asking Boasberg to reconsider the choice of Kris—or risk having the politically compromised FISA court eliminated altogether.
“I can tell you that a few of us are not only appealing this to the judge, who has now taken over the FISA process, but we are also looking at this when it comes to renewing the FISA process within Congress,” he said, according to the Daily Caller.
The FISA law—first passed in 1978, and later amended by the PATRIOT Act and several others in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks—includes several sunset clauses that must be renewed periodically.
While it has frequently been targeted by libertarians over its invasive authorization of domestic surveillance, the abuses during the Obama era—first revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, and later in the FBI’s RussiaGate scandal—have made even conservative national-defense hawks skeptical of its value.
Horowitz’s report disclosed how bad actors within the intelligence community were able to mislead the court with ease into authorizing and renewing warrants to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and others using nothing more than the now-debunked Steele Dossier as their basis.
“I’d hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most,” Graham said, “but after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there’s fundamental reform.”