If Republicans are so worried about government surveillance and its potential for abuse, why did they reauthorize FISA?

This is a question few people seem to be asking.
Last week, the House Intelligence Committee released a memo that revealed abuses of the FISA process. Sadly, the real news was lost in partisan bickering about Russia connections and Clinton crookedness. I wrote an article highlighting the real takeaways from the memo. You can read that HERE.

Republicans threw a royal fit because it appears the Democratic National Committee had a hand in developing the narrative that led the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to approve a FISA warrant to spy on a Trump advisor. That information was never disclosed to the FISC. The memo says the findings it reports “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

As I’ve discovered, whether you think information the FBI and DOJ omitted from its warrant requests was material or relevant depends on your political point of view. But that really misses the point. The system is obviously being used for political purposes. No matter what side of the political aisle you stand on, that should cause you concern.

In 1975, Sen. Frank Church warned that the U.S. surveillance network had the potential to support “total tyranny.” Think about that for a minute. He made that statement before widespread use of the internet. Before everybody had a cell phone. Before email and messaging became a primary means of communication.

More than 40 years later, Congress has taken no action to rein in the surveillance state. Just weeks ago, the GOP-dominated Congress extended Sec. 702 of FISA for six more years. That was the very legal framework used to spy on this Trump advisor. In fact, Congress expanded FISA and further empowered agencies like the FBI and NSA to spy on Americans.

This memo was available to members of the House Intelligence Committee prior to the vote to reauthorize FISA. None of this information was made available to Congress at large. The 22-member intelligence committee decided to sit on it as Congress debated extending (and in fact expanding) FISA authority. Amendments that would have modestly reformed the law to better protect the privacy of Americans were rejected.

Most telling, every single Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee voted to reauthorize Sec. 702, and in a heartwarming show of bipartisanship, six of the nine Democratic representatives on the committee joined their colleagues.

The existence of this memo became public the day after Trump signed the FISA extension into law.

So, again I ask the question – If Republicans are so concerned about FISA abuses, why did they push through reauthorization even though the president and some members of House leadership knew about these abuses?

I’ll tell you why. If they didn’t reauthorize it, it wouldn’t have been available for them to use in the future.

The finger-pointing and partisan bickering is part of the political theater meant to distract you. Never forget, the real end-game is more power and control over you.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.