Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Congress to end a controversial US domestic surveillance programme, complicating prospects for a proposed overhaul that could soon come up for a vote in the House of Representatives.
The former Republican president said Congress should not renew elements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, due to expire on April 15, that allow law enforcement to scan vast mountains of data scooped up by the US intelligence apparatus without first getting approval from a judge.
Those provisions are opposed by hardline Republicans and left-leaning Democrats who say they give the government too much power to spy on its citizens. They are pressing to require court approval for access.
A US court found last year that the FBI improperly searched the database 278,000 times over several years.
Trump, who is running to win back the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election, said the law was illegally used to spy on his campaign, without providing evidence. “It was illegally used against me, and many others,” he wrote on social media.
Trump has enormous influence among his party’s lawmakers. His opposition scuttled a bipartisan immigration deal earlier this year.
Officials with the FBI and the department of justice say the programme has been crucial in drug smuggling cases, foreign cybersecurity threats and cross-border crimes.
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