President Trump undermines White House FISA position after watching Fox News, then changes his mind

The president denounced a program he had previously supported because "Fox & Friends" did so

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 11, 2018 10:01AM (EST)

 (AP/Evan Vucci)
(AP/Evan Vucci)

UPDATE: The House of Representatives voted to renew FISA on Thursday without the USA Rights amendment.

President Donald Trump undermined the White House's position on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — known as FISA — on Thursday morning, but flip-flopped on the position just hours later.

As Matthew Gertz of Media Matters pointed out, Trump's decision to denounce FISA was tweeted at the same time that "Fox & Friends" was connecting the act to Trump's ongoing woes over accusations that his presidential campaign colluded with Russian government officials.

On Wednesday, the White House released a statement supporting FISA.

The chief controversy surrounding FISA — outside of Trump's complaints — comes from some Republicans upset about Section 702, which allows the government to collect electronic information from foreign intelligence agencies and from foreigners outside the United States, according to CBS News. Those communications could sometimes include American communications.

Republicans upset with Section 702 had been pushing for what they were calling a "USA Rights" amendment, which would curtail the ability of intelligence agencies to collect information. That amendment, seemingly championed by Trump, was rejected by the White House, which said in a press release that it would "re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11 in order to increase information sharing and improve our national security."

Although FISA's authorization technically expired at the end of 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined that Section 702 expires on April 26, 2018 because it had been recertified for one year on April 26, 2017.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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