Don't get us wrong, there is no better form of government in the world than American republicanism. But thanks to rampant, out-of-control hyper-partisanship that divides Left and Right in D.C., despite obvious, documented, criminal abuses of a system put in place to keep our country safe, Congress still can't get together to implement some much needed reforms.
As The Epoch Times reported, provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are up for renewal before Congress in the next few weeks. This is the law that created the now-infamous "FISA court" -- the federal court established under the 1978 act designed to hear secret evidence from the government and authorize electronic surveillance on threats to national security.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, as it is known, hears evidence so sensitive that it meets in secret, somewhere in or around Washington, D.C. Its jurists are ordinary federal judges who are cleared to hear top secret evidence. They serve a single seven-year term.
The FISA court, you may remember, was used and abused by the Obama administration -- outright defrauded -- so as to justify spying on a member of the 2016 Trump campaign, former adviser Carter Page.
A report issued recently by the Justice Department inspector general found that at least two of the four surveillance warrants issued to the FBI by the FISA court were improper because they were based on phony 'evidence' -- the so-called "Russia dossier," a compilation of garbage assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who, by the way, goes on trial in Britain in May for fabricating the document. The DoJ IG also found a lot more evidence that the Obama-era FBI, under then-Director James Comey, lied repeatedly to the FISC, including withholding exculpatory evidence that would have exonerated Page (and President Trump as well, for that matter).
All of this nefarious behavior screams for reform. But, as The Epoch Times notes, Americans can forget about that idea because that can is being booted far, far down the road. Worse, it is Republicans -- not the Democrats, some of whom were in on Spygate from the outset, who are at "loggerheads" over reforms:
Amid frenzied budget negotiations, an obscure provision in the Nov. 18, 2019 measure to keep the government open also extended FISA’s expiration, from the end of 2019 to March 15, 2020.
That delay has set up a simmering feud among congressional Republicans.
Unbelievably, Attorney General William Barr testified before Congress in February that he would like to see a "clean" FISA reauthorization which preserves some of the worst parts of the FISA law -- such as very intrusive, Constitution-melting provisions 'authorizing' the government to vacuum up metadata involving the phone records of people inside and outside the U.S.
This comes as Barr is the one who 'stunned' Washington shortly after his confirmation as Jeff Sessions' replacement that he is confident the 2016 Trump campaign was "clearly spied on." It's also the same Barr who has assigned a U.S. attorney, John Durham, to specifically look into the origins of Spygate and, presumably, make indictments since that initial probe has now become a criminal investigation.
But remarkably, while this abuse screams for justice and reforms, Barr claims that they can be implemented via administrative rules instead of changing the law.
That's insane, but in a Washingtonian way. Only an insider believes that new rules inside the FBI and Justice Department will prevent a future James Comey from ignoring them and weaponizing the department and bureau against another presidential candidate he doesn't like. Because what his FBI did to Trump was already against existing rules and regulations, let alone violations of laws against defrauding the FISA court.
Now, Trump doesn't have to sign legislation reauthorizing a law that was abused in an attempt to depose him. But he will because most of the FISA act is necessary to help our intelligence community maintain national security.
Washingtonian abuses don't get any more outrageous than this.