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'Obey the Constitution': Rand Paul urges end to FISA-authorized snooping on Americans

In an exchange with the Kentucky Republican senator at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray credited FISA with keeping Americans safe after 9/11.

Updated: September 21, 2021 - 9:31pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky announced his opposition to using FISA warrants on American citizens, specifically political candidates, during an exchange Tuesday with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, Paul questioned Wray about the surveillance of American citizens via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). 

"The problem is the system can be abused," Paul said. "We should obey the Constitution. I don't think Americans nor political candidates should be investigated using a foreign intelligence surveillance court." 

Wray responded to the senator's comments saying he believed FISA warrants were constitutional and that they have a "difference of opinion on how to characterize" its legality. 

Wray went on to credit FISA for keeping America safe following the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. 

"A lot of the reforms that have occurred thanks to this Congress, the courts, and the executive branch to make sure there is not an information wall between agencies is what kept this country safe," he continued, 

FISA was enacted into law in 1978 at the height of the Cold War. Attempts to reform or abolish it would take an act of Congress.

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