After a few confusing tweets, President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed the House to renew a critical national security program that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets abroad.
The House is expected to vote on a version that would put restrictions on how the FBI could use information on Americans that is inadvertently swept up by the program. “This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land,” Trump said in a morning tweet. “We need it! Get smart!”
But before that he sent out a tweet suggesting that the program was used to collect information that might have been used to taint his campaign.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump’s tweets were “inaccurate, conflicting and confusing.” He suggested that a vote on the bill should be delayed until the White House’s position can be ascertained. The Republicans said the vote should be held.
The program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows U.S. spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the United States. Americans’ communications are inadvertently swept up in the process and privacy advocates and some lawmakers want to require the FBI to get a warrant if it wants to query and view the content of Americans’ communications that are in the database to build domestic crime cases.
On Thursday morning, the president appeared to contradict the position of his own administration. In a tweet, he linked the FISA program that his White House supports to the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russia, catching aides and Capitol Hill officials off guard. A short time later, he went further.
“‘House votes on controversial FISA ACT today,'” Trump wrote, citing a Fox News headline. “This is the act that may have been…