There has been a lot of talk about FISA reform, but what should that look like? In the latest episode of The McCarthy Report podcast, Rich and I broached that subject (as I did with more elaboration in my column this weekend).
The future of the U.S. foreign counterintelligence mission is crucial. The latest hair-raising report from DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz, cataloguing yet more FBI/DOJ FISA abuse (albeit still with no discussion of the FISA court’s performance), brings the future of that mission into question. That includes asking not only whether the FISA court system should be maintained but also whether the FBI should stick to criminal investigations, with another agency (perhaps a new one) assuming the mission of safeguarding the U.S. against foreign threats.
Obviously, though, we must observe the priorities. Right now, FISA reform, like everything else, is a backburner issue.
We thus open the podcast with our own personal observations of America’s current surreal existence, and my plea that the media stop asking about government security measures to protect Dr. Anthony Fauci (a plea further explained in this post last week). Then we move to the pressing issues: What authority do the federal, state, and local governments have to quarantine Americans or restrict their right to travel, both intrastate and interstate? And what is the relevance to these questions of the fact that the courts are open and functioning? The latter question calls for a follow-up on the issue we considered in the previous week’s podcast: To what extent has COVID-19 prevented the courts from operating, processing arrests, and hearing cases? (Spoiler: It’s a huge challenge, but the system has not shut down; it is limping along.)
Finally, after our discussion of IG Horowitz’s latest FISA report, we cover the grim news from Pakistan. An appellate court there, 18 years after the fact, has reversed murder and terrorism convictions in the brutal 2002 kidnap and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. We discuss what’s ahead, including the question of whether Pakistani authorities will appeal to their supreme court or let the infuriating ruling stand.
We hope you’ll tune in. As the podcast page details, you can subscribe to it on one of the streaming platforms, get each new broadcast automatically, and leave us a review — we’d love to get your feedback.