Senator Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

Declawing the Deep State

 In 2016, the James Comey-led Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained warrants to spy on the Trump Campaign using highly questionable and provably false evidence. While we’ve known that this was little more than a partisan witch hunt, a government report published at the end of last year exposed the Comey-led FBI’s gross negligence for what it was. This was a hit job carried about by bureaucrats who were trying to prevent then candidate Donald Trump from being elected. The report’s findings even prompted our nation’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Bill Barr, to release a statement. He said the report made clear that “the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions.” I was, and still am, furious and disgusted by what was allowed to happen. The blindly partisan actions by a handful of bad actors brought the credibility and integrity of the entire FBI—which is primarily filled with honest, patriotic public servants—into question. None of the information used by Comey and his cronies justified obtaining a warrant to spy on the Trump Campaign. Yet they received one anyway. Worse, when his cronies discovered information that contradicted their justification to spy, they purposely withheld it from the court.

 The program, called FISA, used to spy on the Trump Campaign is meant to protect Americans against terrorism. Yet, if this group of unelected bureaucrats was able to weaponize FISA against a presidential candidate that they didn’t agree with, it could easily be used to attack innocent, law-abiding American citizens across this country. So, earlier this week, when the United States Congress claimed they were voting on reforms to this program I was eager to see what these strong reforms were and how they were going to protect the American people from illegal spying. Sadly, after reading the bill, I couldn’t find a single meaningful reform. Two of the major “reforms” it touted have already been standard practice for years. The other “reforms” were poorly written or riddled with loopholes. The bill did not contain anything approaching stronger protections for Americans’ Constitutional rights or tighter control over their personal information from data collection. In other words, no part of this bill would have stopped what happened to President Trump in 2016 or any Americans who worked on his behalf.

 This didn’t have to be the case.

 I introduced an amendment that would have properly reigned in the FISA program by expanding due process protections for all Americans and especially those who are outspoken in their political beliefs. It has long been said that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and that was my thinking when trying to rewrite this bill. My amendment would have required government bureaucrats to seek additional approval from a federal court for surveillance applications. This added layer of protection would ensure that all Americans remained protected. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat Establishment blocked my amendment from even being debated or considered by Congress. Democrat leadership used a rushed process to pass a lazy bill that doesn’t do anything to address the long-standing issues of the FISA courts and only emboldens unelected bureaucrats. Instead of debating this bill in the light of day, Speaker Pelosi negotiated it behind closed doors in the darkness of night. This only reinforces how the federal government has for decades used secretive tactics to systematically undermine the American people’s civil liberties. It has to stop.

 Fortunately, President Trump has already signaled he is open to vetoing this bad bill. In my opinion, this bill violates the Constitution, the guiding document of our Republic for over 230 years. With this bill, Speaker Pelosi and her liberal mob majority are shredding the Constitution the same way she shredded the President’s State of the Union address. If they had worked in good faith, then Congress would have been able to vote on my amendment and ultimately extended due process protections to all American citizens. Instead, we ended up with a bill that basically endorses the unchecked power of unelected bureaucrats many of whom have worked against President Trump since day one. I know it shouldn’t be this way, and that’s why I’m fighting every day to protect the liberties of every Missourian.