Russian Bots Call for Release of FISA Memo

Republican lawmakers appear to be doing the bidding of Russian bots in calling to be made public an allegedly incendiary memo detailing secret FISA spying on the Trump campaign.

The #releasethememo campaign on Twitter has been heavily promoted by Kremlin-linked influence networks, according to transparency site Hamilton 68. At one point, bot activity for the hashtag soared by over 260,000%, according to reports.

The House Intelligence Committee memo reportedly details how the FISA surveillance law was used by the FBI under the Obama administration to spy on members of the Trump campaign team, who are suspected of collusion with Putin aides in the run up to the last presidential election.

If that’s true, the FBI would likely have been within its right to use the law, which governs intelligence gathering on foreign suspects and, by extension, any Americans they’re in communication with.

However, certain GOP lawmakers may be hoping the revelations will derail the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller.

"The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice," said Representative Matt Gaetz, in a typical statement. "The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency."

Several Republicans said if they had known of the ‘abuses’ of power outlined in the memo they would not have voted to reauthorize the controversial section 702 of FISA, which has now been signed by President Trump.

It will not escape the attention of many that these remarks were made in some cases just hours after the law was reauthorized — while little effort was made by many of these lawmakers to question the legislation in the months of debate preceding the vote.

Despite revelations by Edward Snowden that FISA is used by the NSA and FBI to snoop on countless innocent Americans, despite being intended to target foreign operatives, it was passed 256-164 by the lower house.

The controversial Section 702 now has another six years before it is re-examined.

In fact, the new version also gives the government the opportunity to restart “about” searches, whereby even if two Americans simply mention keywords monitored by the authorities, their conversation can be logged and their details swept up in a dragnet surveillance database.

This database can then be searched by the FBI at a later date for unrelated crimes, all without a warrant.

Californian Democrat and member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, has described the memo as a "profoundly misleading set of talking points drafted by Republican staff attacking the FBI and its handling of the investigation."

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