Speaker Ryan's Message to the Press: 'FISA Abuse Matters'

By Susan Jones | February 6, 2018 | 10:49am EST
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (Photo: Speaker.gov)

(CNSNews.com) - "You're the press," House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters gathered at his weekly news conference on Tuesday. "You're the avatars of the First Amendment, protecting the critical component of our civil liberties.

“FISA abuse matters to each and every one of us as citizens. And if our government abused the FISA process -- a very unique, selective process -- which if mishandled could complicate and compromise an American's civil liberties, we should care about that," Ryan continued.

 

“So this is about making sure that our civil liberties as citizens is protected in the FISA court and that it is not politicized."

The House intelligence committee last Friday released a memo saying that the FBI did not disclose pertinent information while seeking a warrant to surveil a member of the Trump campaign.

The FISA court was not told that the DNC and the Clinton campaign paid for the Christopher Steele dossier, which "formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application," according to Republicans. Nor was the court told that news reports used as corroboration for the dossier were based on disclosures by dossier author Christopher Steele.

"This is about FISA abuse and this is about holding our government accountable, and this about Congress doing its job in conducting oversight over the Executive Branch, which in this particular case has been given great power over us as citizens,” Ryan said. “We need to make sure that power is used correctly."

The House intelligence committee on Monday night voted unanimously to release a Democrat memo, a rebuttal to the Republican memo released on Friday that outlined the FBI's FISA abuses.

It’s now up to the Trump White House to determine if the Democrat memo will be released as written, if it is released at all – and whether redactions should be made.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House intelligence committee and a vocal critic of President Trump, is already making the case that any redactions by the White House would be politically motivated to suppress what Democrats are trying to get across.

“What I'm more concerned about…is they make political redactions, that is, not redactions to protect sources or methods, which we've asked the Deparatment of Justice and the FBI to do, but redactions to remove information they think is unfavorable to the president. That could be a real problem, and that's our main concern at this point," Schiff told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.

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