In a surprising turn of events, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has faced intense backlash from Republicans for slipping a surveillance authorization into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), effectively postponing a deep state surveillance authorization fight until 2025.
Conservatives are deeply disappointed with Johnson’s backtrack, accusing him of caving to the deep state and Democrats. This move has only added to growing concerns that Johnson’s leadership is not bringing about any significant improvements.
Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) expressed his frustration, likening Johnson’s decision to a “strike two and a half.” He emphasized accountability, referencing the popular baseball rule of three strikes and you’re out.
Another Republican lawmaker, Representative Mike Collins (R-GA), voiced his frustration at being excluded from the NDAA negotiations. He criticized the secretive nature of the process and highlighted the growing weariness of such practices among lawmakers in Washington.
Apart from the political implications of shutting out negotiators from the NDAA, privacy experts are deeply concerned about the potential extension of Section 702 authority until April 2025. This move would severely limit lawmakers’ ability to reform the controversial profound state surveillance law.
Elizabeth Gotein, a co-director at the Brennan Center for Justice, expressed her concerns, stating that House and Senate leaders are essentially extending this authority until April 2025, despite claiming it to be a “short-term” reauthorization until April 19, 2024.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who co-sponsored the Government Surveillance Reform Act, described the decision to reauthorize FISA in the context of the NDAA as a “cowardly move.” He emphasized the general public’s strong opposition to warrantless surveillance conducted by their government.
Adam Brandon, the president of the conservative grassroots organization FreedomWorks, echoed the sentiments of many Republicans. He criticized using the NDAA to reauthorize FISA and called for lawmakers to oppose the bill. Brandon urged support for the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, which aims to reauthorize FISA while introducing reforms to protect Americans’ privacy and hold the intelligence community accountable.
Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who sponsored the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act, called Speaker Johnson to bring his legislation to the House floor for a vote, emphasizing immediate action.
The inclusion of the deep state surveillance authorization in the NDAA has sparked outrage among Republicans, highlighting their concerns about the erosion of privacy rights and the need for transparency and accountability within the intelligence community. It remains to be seen how this controversy will impact the outcome of the NDAA and the future of deep state surveillance.