Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, a ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, criticized Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York Thursday for canceling this week’s hearing on reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and charged Democrats with refusing to “acknowledge the problems” with the Watergate-era law.
The Judiciary Committee was slated to consider a FISA reauthorization bill crafted by Nadler’s staff along with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s plans for a full-chamber vote by the March 15 deadline, when certain provisions of the act are set to expire. A recent report from the Justice Department inspector general unearthed “at least 17” glaring omissions from FISA warrant applications in the FBI’s deep-state “Crossfire Hurricane” operation, complicating the 1978 law’s reauthorization efforts as Republicans call for broader constraints of government surveillance.
On Wednesday, Nadler postponed the Judiciary Committee’s hearing on the issue as Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California planned to propose several amendments with Republicans. Lofgren’s potential requests for wider restrictions on FISA’s powers showcased inter-party divisions on the Democrats’ path forward.
Collins accused Nadler of hiding behind the curtain of caucus conflicts to avoid confronting the gross abuses of the government’s surveillance powers.
“They don’t want to acknowledge the problems that led to this in the past, so I think that’s why they don’t want to do it,” Collins told The Federalist on the sidelines of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Nadler’s decision to cancel Wednesday’s proceedings.
Collins said that the pressure to amend the current legislation on the table stems from both sides wanting to see more comprehensive changes to the existing law.
“There was some pressure from [Nadler’s] own side at the last minute, but it’s also from our side saying we want to see FISA reform change,” Collins said, adding that if the current bill makes it through the committee as is, it would not have the ranking member’s blessing.
“We’re going to keep pushing. I’m not going to approve anything unless we get some FISA changes,” Collins said.
Sitting on a panel with Fox News Contributor Sara Carter appearing before the largest annual gathering of grassroots conservatives in the country, Collins railed against the intelligence community for facilitating a deep-state coup operation to keep President Donald Trump out of the Oval Office that began prior to Trump’s election.
“They were trying to stop candidate Trump, but you know what they were trying to stop is you,” Collins said to applause. “The swamp wanted to stop you!”
Attorney General William Barr privately pushed Republicans to pursue a simple reauthorization of the law on Tuesday. Barr’s endorsement of a less comprehensive reform measure has frustrated GOP lawmakers who want to see significant changes in light of recent revelations from the inspector general’s report exposing government bureaucrats weaponizing the intelligence agencies to destroy their political opponents.