Trump urges House to reauthorize NSA surveillance after ripping it in a tweet

Trump urges House to reauthorize NSA surveillance after ripping it in a tweet
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Meetings on potential North Korea summit going 'very well' Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela Ivanka Trump to campaign for Devin Nunes in California MORE on Thursday called for the House to renew the National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial warrantless surveillance program even after expressing frustration over reports that the program had been used to spy on his campaign in 2016.

The House is headed for a close vote Thursday over whether to reauthorize the program, which has been criticized for the ease with which prosecutors can obtain warrants from a surveillance court to spy on Americans.

The White House has called for the program to be reauthorized, but the president lashed out at the program early Thursday. Trump’s allies have alleged that the FBI used a salacious opposition research memo detailing allegations of Trump-Russia collusion to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on his campaign and transition team.

But Trump followed up by saying that the program must be renewed as a means of keeping tabs on “foreign bad guys.”

Trump’s assertion that he “personally directed the fix to the unmasking process” is another wrinkle in the surveillance debate.

The president earlier this week signed a memorandum instructing Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant GOP senator: Trump has no right to influence an investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — How long can a Trump-DOJ accord survive? MORE to come up with a new policy for the government in responding to requests from law enforcement officials seeking to “unmask” Americans in intelligence reports.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had been unmasked in one such report.

Flynn had told Trump and Vice President Pence that he did not discuss sanctions with then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. But an intelligence report leaked to The Washington Post indicated otherwise.

Flynn was fired and later pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians. Flynn is now cooperating with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation into whether Trump officials had improper contacts with the Russians.