President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't 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.
“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018
But Trump followed up by saying that the program must be renewed as a means of keeping tabs on “foreign bad guys.”
With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018
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 CoatsAn independent commission should review our National Defense Strategy Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race 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 (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s investigation into whether Trump officials had improper contacts with the Russians.