Boehner: Surveillance helped foil DC plot

Boehner: Surveillance helped foil DC plot
© Greg Nash

HERSHEY, Pa. — Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHouse vote fails to quell storm surrounding Steve King House passes resolution condemning white nationalism GOP leaders strip Steve King of committee assignments MORE (R-Ohio) said Thursday that controversial government surveillance programs helped foil a terror attack on the Capitol, just blocks from where he lives in Washington.

“The first thing that strikes me is we would never have known about this had it not been for the FISA program and our ability to collect information on people who pose an imminent threat,” Boehner said at a news conference at the joint House and Senate GOP retreat here.

He gave no further details of the alleged plot, other than saying that it was uncovered shortly after the FISA program came into effect.

“Our government does not spy on Americans, unless there are Americans who are doing things that frankly tip off our law enforcement officials to an imminent threat,” he added. “It was those law enforcement officials and those programs that helped us stop this person before he committed a heinous crime in our nation’s capital.”

Boehner said the foiled terror attack in Washington, as well as a plot against his life by an Ohio bartender, surfaced this week as Congress looks to reauthorize sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“We live in a dangerous country, and we get reminded every week of the dangers that are out there,” Boehner said, mentioning last week’s deadly attacks in Paris.

“It’s one thing to get a threat from far away; it’s another when it’s three doors from where you live,” the Speaker said of the bartender’s plot to poison him. “Obviously, this young man has some health issues, some mental health issues that need to be addressed.”