Abuse of power gets tabled for now

Abuse of power gets tabled for now

Abuse of power gets tabled for now

A lawmaker in Ohio is calling on Congress to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to prevent warrantless spying on U.S. citizens.

Amid sharp divisions over proposed reforms, the House has shelved plans to hold floor votes on a measure aimed at reauthorizing FISA's Section 702, which allows the U.S. government to collect digital communications of foreigners located outside the country.

The problem is the FBI has used the program to search through the information of American citizens without a warrant.

In a recent interview with "Washington Watch," Republican Warren Davidson, a former Army Ranger who represents Ohio's 8th Congressional District, outlined what the two sides want.

Davidson, Warren (R-Ohio) Davidson

"The judiciary folks want to protect civil liberties and still protect the American people, but the intelligence community essentially are less attuned to the civil liberties argument and are all in on their view of national security," Davidson explained. "The American people know that we're supposed to spy on foreigners. The 'F' in FISA is for foreign intelligence."

The issue, he said, is the government is "using the powers that they've got in an abusive way."

"They're targeting everyone from pro-life Catholics to people that go to school board meetings to people that go to protest for BLM, or people that back certain political candidates," the congressman relayed. "They spied on the Trump campaign, and no one's been held accountable for it."

That, he said, is why they have to get the reforms through.

His amendment, which proved to be one of the more controversial ones, put no limitation on spying against foreigners but required an FBI supervisor or agency attorney to provide approval for every search for information on Americans, with an exception for if the search could help in stopping a threat to life or serious bodily harm.

"We need to make sure that you have to get an actual warrant, and you can't circumvent that," he said.

Without congressional action, Section 702 is set to expire April 19.