House GOP warns FBI to stay out of controversial surveillance talks


The FBI is getting warned to stay away from Congress’ fight over renewing a controversial surveillance program — even by its allies on the Hill.

A portion of surveillance law that’s meant to ease the monitoring of foreign targets, but also gives the intelligence community the power to inadvertently collect the communications of Americans, is set to expire at the end of the year if lawmakers don’t act. While both FBI and Justice Department leadership typically make a personal pitch to Congress for an extension of the program known as Section 702, the deepening chasm between House Republicans and top law enforcement officials has complicated that dynamic.

In short, the House GOP doesn’t trust the bureau. That’s in part because of the bad blood caused by the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s home last year and its Russia investigation, as well as bipartisan suspicions over how the bureau uses the surveillance program. And it means the FBI’s typical entreaty — that keeping its powers intact is essential to national security — won’t carry much weight this time around.