| January 16, 2020
A pair of Republican lawmakers demanded answers from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about why it selected former Obama administration lawyer David Kris to oversee reforms in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process.
Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina sent a letter Thursday to James Boasberg, the new presiding judge over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, asking him a series of questions about why picked Kris to serve as amicus curiae, a position that is supposed to provide impartial advice to the court.
“Mr. Kris does not appear to be an objective — or likely effective — amicus curiae for several reasons. At minimum the selection of Mr. Kris creates a perception that he is too personally invested on the side of the FBI to ensure it effectuates meaningful reform,” the congressmen wrote in the letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.
Kris, a former assistant attorney general with the Justice Department’s national security division during the Obama administration, has on the Lawfare blog and elsewhere spoken out in support of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation and criticized the House Intelligence Committee’s 2018 memo on alleged FISA abuses. Last week, he was selected last week to oversee the implementation of reforms in response to a scathing Justice Department watchdog report on serious errors found in the FBI’s efforts to wiretap Carter Page, an American foreign policy adviser who helped President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
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With three FISA provisions expected to sunset in March, House Republicans say they intend to make a stand against Kris. House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes said this week that Congress should consider abolishing the FISA court if “[the] Democratic Party gets to use these tools to attempt to remove presidents and target political operatives when they want to.”
Jordan and Meadows, who set a deadline of Ja.n 30, also asked the FISA court in their letter about steps it has taken to review its conduct and whether it bears any responsibility for the FBI’s surveillance of Page.