2024 Election

‘I’m not a fan of FISA’: Donald Trump Bashes Controversial ‘spy tool’


In a striking declaration that resonates with the core of conservative values, former President Donald Trump recently voiced his unequivocal disdain for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a sentiment that echoes the concerns of many who prioritize individual liberties and are wary of government overreach.

“I’m not a big fan of FISA; I think it’s terrible,” Trump stated, flanked by Representative Mike Johnson, during an event that underscored the growing apprehension about the potential for abuse within America’s surveillance apparatus.

Trump’s criticism of FISA comes at a time when trust in government institutions is at a low ebb among conservatives.

The act, originally passed in 1978 and amended several times since, was designed to provide procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism. However, its implementation has been marred by controversy, particularly following high-profile cases alleging misuse.

The former president’s comments reflect a broader conservative concern about privacy rights and government accountability.

Trump himself has been at the center of one such controversy: his campaign was surveilled under FISA during the 2016 election—a move he has repeatedly condemned as unjustified and politically motivated. At the event with Johnson, Trump reiterated this stance: “What they did to us with FISA should never be allowed to happen in our country.”

Representative Mike Johnson, who accompanied Trump at the event, has been an advocate for FISA reform. He has called attention to what he sees as its flaws and potential for abuse. In line with this perspective, The Gateway Pundit published comments from Mike Benz, a former State Department official under Trump who now serves as executive director at Foundation for Freedom Online.

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Benz criticized what he views as “the FBI’s lawless use of FISA spying,” stating that it represents “a clear violation of American civil liberties.”

Donald Trump said he ‘stands’ with Mike Johnson and he’s done a ‘very good job’ as the pair appeared at a joint news conference amid threats of another motion to oust the speaker

Benz further elaborated on his concerns regarding FISA’s application: “The FBI’s use of this tool has been marked by deceit and disregard for internal protocols.” His statement underscores a significant anxiety among conservatives—that agencies vested with significant power may operate without sufficient oversight or adherence to established legal frameworks.

The Daily Mail also reported on Trump’s aversion to FISA during his appearance with Johnson. The publication highlighted how these sentiments are shared by many on the right who fear that such tools can be turned against American citizens without just cause.

This skepticism towards FISA is not unfounded; there have been documented instances where its provisions have been misapplied or abused. One notable example is the case involving former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Justice Department Inspector General found significant errors and omissions in applications submitted to surveil Page under FISA during the 2016 campaign.

These revelations have fueled calls from conservatives for greater transparency and reform within intelligence agencies’ surveillance practices. They argue that without proper checks and balances, tools like FISA could undermine fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

The debate around FISA also touches on broader themes central to conservative philosophy—namely, limited government and protection against arbitrary authority. For many conservatives, any mechanism that could potentially infringe upon individual rights warrants cautious scrutiny.

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As discussions around national security continue to evolve in an increasingly digital world, questions about how best to balance these priorities remain pertinent. While recognizing the need for robust intelligence capabilities to counter threats both foreign and domestic, there remains an enduring wariness about state power being used improperly against its own citizens.

Trump’s recent remarks serve as a potent reminder that vigilance is necessary when it comes to governmental powers capable of encroaching on personal freedoms. His alignment with figures like Representative Mike Johnson signals ongoing support within conservative circles for reevaluating how surveillance laws like FISA are implemented—and perhaps more importantly—how they can be reformed to safeguard against abuses while still ensuring national security.

As America wrestles with these complex issues surrounding privacy rights versus security needs, voices like those of Donald Trump continue to play an influential role in shaping public discourse around civil liberties and government accountability—without drawing definitive conclusions but rather highlighting areas ripe for examination and debate within our democratic society.

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Ella Ford is a mother of two, a Christian conservative writer with degrees in American History, Social and Behavioral Science and Liberal Studies, based in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.

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