FULL CLIP BELOW:
Worried about doorbell cameras?
Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia (D-TX): What about the videos from doorbell video cameras?
Brad Wiegmann, DOJ: “That most certainly could be relevant in an investigation. I’m sure that that would, could be… I can easily envision scenarios where that could be relevant to an investigation.”
Does the NSA need legal authority to restart the program?
Key moments where PPSA's proposed amendment of mandatory amicus/special advocate were asked by the committee.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX): Stated he considers FISA an important tool as a former US Attorney. Rep. Ratcliffe stated that reauthorization of FISA should be noncontroversial and bipartisan were it not for abuses of the program, in particular regarding Carter Page. The congressman then asked if there are any special rules for submitting a FISA application to surveil a political campaign or one of its associates, whether the FBI is required to verify evidence in a FISA application, whether a Brady-like requirement to disclose exculpatory evidence applies to FISA warrant applications, and what safeguards are there to ensure FISA requirements are met, and what would prevent the appointment of an attorney ad litem to represent the interests of the target of a FISA application (possibly someone from the DOJ).
Mr. Wiegmann of the DOJ stated he didn’t see a need for an amicus or attorney ad litem when dealing with a spy or a terrorist.
Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-RI): Asked about role of an adversarial process: in 2018 an amicus was appointed on nine occasions; in 2017 the FISA court considered appointing an amicus on three separate occasions, but then the government either withdrew the applications or modified them in a way that convinced the court not to appoint an amicus; he asked for an explanation of those three instances.
Mr. Wiegmann of the DOJ stated he did not know the circumstances, but would get that information for the committee later.
Rep. Cicilline then asked a few follow-up questions, including whether an amicus has standing to request an appeal and if the DOJ notifies criminal defendants when evidence against them was obtained under 215.
Mr Wiegmann of the DOJ: No.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND): Asked how many criminal prosecutions have come from FISA warrants.
Mr. Wiegmann of the DOJ stated there have been many since the 1970s, but didn’t have specific numbers.
Rep. Armstrong then asked about Woods proceedings on why every FISA proceeding could not have an amicus.
Mr. Wiegmann stated making every FISA proceeding adversarial would make the process untenable.
Are there safeguards for U.S. Citizens subject to surveillance?
Key moments where PPSA's proposed amendment of requiring probable cause (4th Amendment) were asked by the committee.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA): Asked how court rulings having to do with privacy are integrated into the intelligence community’s proceedings, especially in regards to historic cell phone location records.
Mr. Wiegmann stated the DOJ does not believe Carpenter requirements (Carpenter v. United States, SCOTUS, 2018) for a warrant for geolocation information applies since these aren’t criminal proceedings, but the DOJ does consider the Fourth Amendment implications.
Rep. Lofgren is concerned about the collection of content under FISA.
Ms. Morgan stated NSA CDR does not collect the content of communications; Mr. Wiegmann stated substantive information is collected under business records authority but communications content is not.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): Asked if the DOJ/FBI/NSA considered the Russian ambassador an agent of a terrorist organization during the Obama administration.
All three witnesses declined to comment.
Rep. Gohmert then brought up what he called “massive abuses through the FISA court,” including surveillance of Jeff Sessions and the Israeli ambassador. He is concerned that the language of the Business Records Authority could be interpreted broadly under guidelines approved by the Attorney General, not the law. Rep. Gohmert expressed significant concerns that as long as there is a FISA court, or at least without broad reforms, the system is open to interpretation and subject to abuse. He then spent nearly his entire time allotment speaking out against FISA abuses and Fourth Amendment concerns, and concluded, “We definitely need reforms so you don’t have to be back here and squirming because of the abuses that have occurred in the system, and I really do hope we’ll work together to have some reforms.”
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA): Asked if Fourth Amendment protections apply to business records obtained under Section 215.
Mr. Wiegmann of the DOJ said no.
Stay tuned for more analysis...