Democrats are urging Congress to reform sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allow warrantless collection of personal data such as the recording of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn on the phone with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., The Hill reported.
"While it's unclear what exact authority was used to acquire Gen. Flynn's communications, we agree that warrantless seizures and searches of Americans are unconstitutional," Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, adding Nunes had previously expressed concern over Flynn's call being recorded.
"The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded," Nunes told reporters in early March, according to The Hill.
"Since its inception, FISA's Section 702 has too often been used as a vehicle to engage in activities violating the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans," Lieu continued. "As you are well aware, Section 702 authority will expire at the end of the current year. We strongly believe that it should not be reauthorized without significant reforms to protect the constitutional rights of American citizens . . . We urge you to join us in reforming the law to ensure that the activities of our intelligence agencies do not violate our constitutional rights."
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has been a longtime critic of the act, saying in 2013 that FISA "is just anachronistic" on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers."
Nunes suggested reauthorizing the act would be "very problematic" after the revelation an American citizen was recorded.
"I've expressed this concern to [the intelligence community]," he said. "We have sent them many follow-up questions as it relates to intelligence that's been collected. And we expect prompt answers."
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