Former AG Barr Slams Trump’s Call To ‘Kill FISA’

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has received widespread backlash, particularly from conservatives, in recent years over concerns that the powers it provides U.S. spy agencies have been used as a political tool to target Americans.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump recently weighed in on the topic with a social media post calling for an end to the controversial provision.

“Kill FISA, it was illegally used against me, and many others,” the former president wrote in an all-caps statement. “They spied on my campaign!!!”

Of course, many others on the right — including former Attorney General Bill Barr, who served under Trump — have a different opinion of the act.

“I think it’s crazy and reckless to not move forward with FISA,” Barr said. “It’s our principal tool protecting us from terrorist attacks. We’re living through a time where those threats have never been higher, so it’s blinding us, it’s blinding our allies.”

He went on to assert that Trump’s opposition to the federal surveillance powers “seems to have stemmed from personal pique rather than any logic or reason,” claiming the “provision that he objects to has nothing to do with the provision that’s on the floor.”

Barr’s comments were in reference to a recent vote by members of the House of Representatives to extend Section 702 of FISA, which permits warrantless surveillance of certain targets and is scheduled to expire next week without intervention by lawmakers. A group of House Republicans opposed to the provision were able to block it from advancing on Wednesday despite proposed reforms favored by GOP leadership.

“Some of us would rather see it expire than see it not reformed properly,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good (R-VA), one of the 19 Republicans who voted against the measure.

For his part, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) had a sympathetic reception to Trump’s concerns despite advocating for the passage of the bill introduced this week.

“I look forward to talking with him about it,” Johnson said. “Here’s the thing about FISA: He’s not wrong, of course. They abused FISA. These reforms would actually kill the abuses that allowed President Trump’s campaign to be spied on.”