Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers he plans to make changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, said Senate Republicans who attended a closed-door caucus lunch on Tuesday.
Barr told the senators he plans to use the regulatory process to change the FISA court in response to a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s surveillance of President Donald Trump’s former campaign associate Carter Page.
“He went over his recommendations and some internal reforms about FISA warrant application and surveillance technology being used,” Senate judiciary committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said. “He’s going to do some things that he can do.”
Horrowitz found that 17 inaccuracies contained in three FISA applications by the FBI appear to have inflated the bureau’s justification for Page’s surveillance.
Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that Barr “indicated his desire to do whatever he can to prevent the corruption and the abuses that we saw” in the investigation into Trump’s campaign in the immediate future.
Congress has until March 15 to reauthorize three FISA provisions under the USA Freedom Act but Senate Republicans are expected to look to hold off on a debate over FISA changes until more provisions expire in 2022.
“You’ve got three provisions to deal with. I think it’d be smart to keep them in place. It would give us time to work on FISA writ large, we’ve got three years,” Graham said.
Democrats are also weighing their own FISA reforms, with House judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., set to advance a reauthorization that would end the seizure of call records and extend roving wiretap and lone wolf surveillance authorities on Wednesday.
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