Not a single member of Congress should reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program that's coming up for a vote mid-March unless significant reforms are made that protect Americans' civil liberties and privacy.
This includes protections for the current president of the United States, and future administrations and their associates, who should never be spied on for illegitimate and political purposes like we saw during the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane operation against Donald Trump and his campaign in the lead up to the 2016 election.
"They spied on the Trump campaign in 2016," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, tweeted on Thursday. "We need to reform FISA so that they can't do it again in 2020."
The ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee is correct. There was an attempted coup by former FBI Director James Comey, disgraced former FBI agent Peter Strzok and other nefarious actors at the highest echelons of the Department of Justice who colluded to stop Donald Trump from getting elected. When that election meddling failed, conspirators implemented the infamous "insurance policy" to ultimately impeach and remove a duly elected president.
An outrage that should never happen in America, a country founded on free elections.
Some of the deceptive tools that were used to fuel the manufactured Russian collusion hoax and trigger a special counsel investigation and other criminal probes to smear and derail Trump and his associates were fraudulent FISA applications obtained by FBI and DOJ officials.
This scandal is far bigger than Watergate, and arguably more damaging to our country, but doesn't get the media attention it deserves because the partisan #FakeNews media was in on the hoax from the start — to tip the 2016 presidential election to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.
And the intelligence community inspector general's report released last year was damning.
Its investigation revealed that powerful officials at the FBI and DOJ misled the FISA court in obtaining the surveillance warrants — a whopping 17 times. This includes material omissions and the withholding of exculpatory evidence. The IG report also revealed an anti-Trump FBI lawyer doctored evidence to get the warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser with the 2016 Trump campaign.
This cannot stand. There must be significant reforms put in place to make sure this type of unchecked corruption never happens again to any American. Yet, high-ranking congressional Democrats including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and others in the D.C. swamp aren't interested in cleaning up the corruption.
Nor are they interested in holding bad actors accountable.
"Only in Washington, D.C. could we get an IG report detailing the kind of appalling FISA abuse we saw at the FBI... and then consider cleanly reauthorizing the program, without first changing it," Republican Congressman Mark Meadows tweeted this week. "Just nuts. It is unacceptable. And Americans of BOTH parties should demand better."
Amen. A failure to do so will incentivize nefarious actors in the government and U.S. intelligence agencies to repeat history. And make no mistake — no one is safe.
Just remember, if the FBI and DOJ can spy on the president of the United States and his campaign associates using a false pretext and fake "dossier" manufactured by his political opponents, then they can do the same to any American.
If that doesn't send a chill up your spine, what will?
Adriana Cohen is a syndicated columnist with the Boston Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.