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HomeBreaking NewsWisconsin U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden: FISA Amendment Would Have Given Protections...

Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden: FISA Amendment Would Have Given Protections to 9/11 Terrorists


Wisconsin Congressman Derrick Van Orden, a Republican who served as a Navy SEAL, says he voted against the FISA amendment because it would have afforded constitutional protections to the 9/11 terrorists and “criminal illegal aliens,” including drug dealers.

He said that’s because the language in the amendment, which required a warrant, was expanded from U.S. citizens to “U.S. persons.”

Wisconsin’s Republican delegation has been divided in the FISA debate like much of Congress (U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald voted with Van Orden on both measures, and U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany voted against FISA renewal.) In all, 86 Republicans voted against the amendment in the U.S. House, tying the vote. The broader FISA renewal, which Van Orden also opposed, then passed the U.S. House.

Van Orden has been criticized by some over his vote; he says his position has been mischaracterized. So we wanted to hear his explanation.

Here’s what he said:

We said: “We wanted to jump in and ask you about FISA. And there’s obviously been this controversy online. It seems like a lot of people are mischaracterizing why you voted the way you did. So I wanted to start just with the overall FISA renewal vote. You voted against renewing FISA. And then we can move on to the amendment. We just want to give you a chance to tell people in your own words, to have them hear you say, like, why did you vote against FISA renewal? What was your vote about?”

Van Orden: “Yeah. Well, let me give you some background about me personally, because people may not know my history. I’m a retired Navy SEAL, and I was a known and I would say respected expert in intelligence and human intelligence operations and special operations forces for an extended period of time. And I’ve worked with the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, I’ve worked with FBI agents and everybody, and I’m intimately familiar with these organizations and processes and all this stuff. So I didn’t just stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

I did that for decades. And I’ve seen this FISA process be abused in real time. FISA came from some abuses that were taking place in the 1970s with the FBI, the CIA, and the IRS. This is going to start sounding really familiar. So they had a church committee hearings in the Senate and they did hearing after hearing after hearing. Most of it was what is called an executive session, meaning it’s a closed door meeting because the The executive branch of the government disclosed some of these really super secret programs for the first time to Congress. And they admitted the fact that they were doing things unlawfully, including doing surveillance on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War protesting stuff and some other programs. You can look it up. And it was a really big deal. And so out of those committee hearings, they came up with something called FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That was actually passed in 1978. And you know who signed it into law? Anybody? Jimmy Carter.

So the Democrat Party used to be the party of getting in the business of the executive branch and saying American civil liberties are paramount. That was the Democrat Party. And they flipped the script. To me, it’s fascinating. So the FISA reforms worked pretty good. There was some Iran-Contra stuff. And there were some things. And Iran-Contra really didn’t fall under FISA. I mean, that’s just something that Ronald Reagan did. But there were some issues with some unlawful surveillance of American citizens from 1978 up until about 2001 when the Patriot Act was done.

And so you had really about 20 or so years where these intelligence agencies were doing about the best they could from an American civil liberties standpoint. Then the Patriot Act was passed, and I was all for it. I was an active duty member of the United States Navy SEAL teams, and I wanted to have every tool we could have to find and kill the people that attacked my country. Okay. I was all behind it. And then it started going bad. and the Patriot Act was used and abused by intelligence agencies to do unlawful things against American citizens, okay?

So FISA’s over here, the Patriot Act is over here. The section that we’re talking about of FISA is section 702 and that’s that’s what these intelligence agencies predominantly the fbi used to spy on American citizens the most high profile cases were Carter Page and Donald Trump And you know what? That’s just wrong. Even if it wasn’t Carter Page and Donald Trump, if it was you or me or my communications director sitting here, her name’s Ashley, if it was Ashley, it’s just wrong.

The United States government should not be spying on our own citizens. You know, end of story period. So the amendment that these guys put in, It sounded great. It’s like, hey, you’re going to be prohibited from doing warrantless wiretaps on American citizens, right? That’s the initial amendment they put in. But the legislative council in the House of Representatives changed the verbiage from U.S. citizen to U.S. persons. And you’d think, oh, that’s no big deal. In fact, it is.

So a U.S. person, if you go on the DHS website, it’s and look up immigrant classes of admission and you find something called a lawful permanent resident. And you’re like, oh, that’s a green card holder. Okay, I get it. They’re going to be here. They’re going to be citizens. They should be afforded constitutional protections, right? It’s not just green card holders. We can scroll through this. These are all different categories. This isn’t a single person. These are categories of people that that applies to. It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. And on and on. Okay. Those aren’t individuals. Those are categories.

Included in those categories would be nine of the 18 terrorists that hijacked planes and attacked the country on September 11th. They would have been afforded constitutional protections if that amendment had been passed. So here’s how this works. Jessica, can I use you as a prop for a second?

Okay. Jessica is a terrorist who’s overseas, and I’m an American citizen. The United States government collects all of this stuff, and they see that there’s a communication between me, an American citizen in America, and Jessica, who’s in Peru. And they say, oh, my gosh, we know Jessica is a terrorist. She’s communicating with an American citizen. They can look through all of your stuff. They’ve always been able to look through your stuff because you are a foreign national and you’re a known terrorist or whatever you are. They can look through your stuff. You’re overseas.

For me, being in the United States, they needed a warrant to look at my stuff, which is great, right? Now, here’s where things go cattywampus. Jessica enters the country illegally. She is a terrorist. They find that there’s a communication between Jessica the terrorist, who is now in the continental United States or one of our territories, communicating with me, an American citizen.

Now, because of that amendment… Because of that amendment, And she falls into one of these categories. Jessica is now considered a U.S. persons. So now they have to get a warrant to look at Jessica, the terrorist’s information, because she’s physically located in the United States. That is wrong. And that’s what that amendment would have done, afforded you these constitutional protections because you’re physically located in the United States.

You are a U.S. person. The criminal illegal aliens that have been entering the nation are covered by this. The asylees are covered by this. The parolees are covered by this. So what? Ninety-some percent of the 10 million people that have entered this country since Joe Biden has become president were covered by this amendment. And here’s the most shocking part. This came up in the Rules Committee hearing. Okay?

Came up in the Rules Committee hearing, and someone asked a member of the Freedom Caucus who is on the Rules Committee, hey, this got changed because we brought it up. It went from U.S. citizen to U.S. persons. And guess what? See this binder? This is all the legislation I’ll be working on this week. I read everything. Okay? And I read that, and I highlighted that. Why did this go from U.S. citizen to U.S. person? And they ask this man that’s on the rules committee that’s in the Freedom Caucus, hey, this went from U.S. citizen to U.S. person. What does that mean? Oh, it means green card holders.

And the female freshman who’s also on the rules committee from Indiana, who is awesome, she said, actually, it doesn’t just mean green card holders. It means on and on and on and on. And that dude said, that’s okay. It’s worth it. It’s worth protecting American citizens to let the 10 million people essentially that Biden has brought into the country, giving them extra constitutional protections that you don’t have.”

We asked: “So why couldn’t it just be rewritten? Like who is blocking rewriting this to focus it more and to get rid of-”

Van Orden: “The United States House of Representatives Legislative Council said it is unconstitutional to say that this is that the warrant requirement applies only to U.S. citizens and here’s what I told him, ‘Guess what I write the law and what we should have done is put U.S. citizen in there I would have voted for it I would have voted for that amendment if it said U.S. citizens and then let somebody else take it to the courts.’ Because we don’t work for the legislative council here. I work for the people in the third congressional district of the state of Wisconsin. That’s who I work for. And then I work for the rest of the United States, right? But primarily I’m here to represent my constituents. That’s how this is supposed to work, right?

So we should have just pushed that thing through and said, you know what? We think you’re wrong. I disagree with the legislative branch, excuse me, with the judicial branch, who’s a co-equal branch of government saying that Mohammed Atta, who was one of the terrorists from 9-11, should have the same constitutional rights as you guys just because he’s in the United States. I fundamentally disagree with that. I do.

And it’s our job as legislators, one of three co-equal branches of government, to push back and say you’re wrong. And unfortunately, the members of the Freedom Caucus didn’t do that. They accepted that and they put the amendment through. So 83 of us or whatever who bothered to read the amendment and look into the difference between a U.S. citizen and a U.S. person voted against it. Now, whether or not they voted for that, the other 82 or whatever, I can’t speak to them specifically. That’s why I voted against it. But everybody had a very principled reason for voting against that amendment.

And none of the Republicans that did are sitting around going, well, let’s figure out how to subvert the Constitution today. No one has had that conversation in the Republican Party. I guarantee you they have in the Democrat Party, and they’ve proven it every day. So that’s why I voted against the amendment. I also voted against every other amendment. And then I voted against the base text of the FISA bill. And I just redid it again yesterday. Because here’s the problem.

Jessica, you’re a propagandist, okay? So anybody watching this, this is not really Jessica. But Jessica is a jerk. 100%. And I write Jessica. Okay, never mind. Jim, you’re the jerk this time. Jim’s a jerk….And I write this note to you. Can you read that? Yes, be better. Jim the Jerk, I write a note, it says, be better. And then I give Jim the note. Jim, here’s the note. Give it to Jim. Be better. Then I bang my chest. I wave the flag. I yell at a bunch of rhinos, and say, look at me, I’m a patriot. Check me out, right? Guess what? Jim’s still a jerk. Jim’s still a jerk and he’s not going to modify his behaviors. He’s not.

Jim is the FBI and the CIA and the DIA and the NSA and all these other intelligence organizations. You’re not going to change just because I told you to be better. And we know this to be true because these people have been abusing the system for so long to the tune of hundreds of thousands of times. disregarding laws that are already in place they’ve they’re already doing it so what is passing this amendment that was horribly written by the way that’s going to let in 10 million essentially illegal aliens fall into the category of U.S person giving them constitutional rights what’s going to change nothing nothing so what happened is this If these folks had taken the time to read a book and had a memory that’s longer than a gnat’s, they would have looked back to the 1970s and said, how did we get the initial quality reforms for all of these intelligence agencies and the IRS? Well, they did the church committee hearings.

They did a long series of hearings and identified everything in detail, and then they wrote legislation, FISA, to correct the malfeasance of these departments, right? Well, what they did this time is they put the legislation in front of any type of stuff they’re going to do. It’s backwards. So here’s what’s going to happen. if in fact they do get another committee hearing series of stuff, and it was only dedicated to this stuff, right? If they get that done, what’s going to happen is this, all of these men and women from these intelligence agencies are going to line up and they’re going to say, you got me. Mea culpa. My bad. Yeah. We abused the Constitution a lot. Thank goodness. Thank goodness. You did this FISA reform because now everything is okay. and the institution is not going to change.”

We asked, “So you use the example of terrorists, but I imagine this would also apply to, say, drug dealers coming over from the southern border?”

“Yes, it’ll apply to criminals. Human trafficking, things like that. As soon as they cross over the border, they’re now U.S. persons also, right? Correct. Criminal illegal aliens selling children into sex slavery. the government would have to get a warrant to look at their information if they are physically located in the United States of America because they are considered lawfully a U.S. person. And that’s what that amendment said.

And I don’t know anybody, our well-meaning folks, anybody that would sign on to that. I mean, do you? We go back and forth between the patriots. First of all, if you don’t call me a patriot, I got a problem with you. I mean, I spent 16 years of my marriage away from my wife and kids defending your right to call me a rhino.

I’m 100% service-connected disabled veteran so that you can say that I’m not conservative enough. All right. So I don’t appreciate that. I just don’t. But the point being is this. We go back and forth frequently with our patriots, Badger State Resistance, and all those cats. But when you tell them the truth, like what this really means, they’re like, oh my gosh, I didn’t know that. Because they really want what’s best for the country.

I firmly believe this is going to sound crazy to all of you. I firmly believe that the Badger State Resistance guys and all the people that are saying this stuff and saying they want to recall me and all this, I really believe they want what’s best for the country. They’re just not being told the truth. And unfortunately, they don’t take the time to look at themselves. I mean, this is a public website. It’s DHS.

And those amendments and everything, they’re public information. Very easy to find.”

We asked, “I’m wondering if we take a step back, and I know you’ve talked about the weaponization of these federal agencies, the FBI, et cetera, Carter Page, what they did to Trump. If you can wave a magic wand and reform these agencies, go to the root of this problem that drove your vote, I think, what would you do? How should these agencies be reformed? Should they be disbanded? What should be done?”

“No, it’s impractical. I mean, the FBI is one of the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies and it’s done some great stuff. It really has. Here’s what I would do. I would go through all the records like they did in the church committee hearings and I’d find the person. I’d find Jim, Jim who did this, and I would fire Jim. And if Jim had done something unlawfully, I would convict him of a felony and put him in prison. And I would do that across the DIA, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA.

I’d do it in the IRS. Lois Lerner from the IRS, remember her? She was using privileged American citizens’ information for political purposes. She should be in jail. Lois Lerner has a pension that I think is about as much as my salary right now and lifetime medical benefits. She should be in prison. That’s what I would do, Jessica.

I’d go through and I’d scrub everything for the last 10 years and find everybody, not an agency, not a department. I would find Jim and I’d put Jim in prison. And guess what will affect people’s decision-making process? ‘Geez, I could do this for political reasons, but I might wind up in prison for 10 years. I wouldn’t do it.’ So now listen, there’s 56 reforms that are written into FISA. And those are in there.

Jim can go to jail for 10 years, get a $10,000 fine, right? But it’s not retroactive. You know, you can’t write a law today and then hold someone accountable for a law that’s right today. That is constitutional. But you just said I had a magic wand, so I can do whatever I want. And that’s what I would do. I would hold people accountable, like start ready, push, go.

And now if we get into the in reality, what can really happen, is we get President Trump elected. And he puts someone in there that’s going to go through each one of these agencies and cull them viciously and tell them, we don’t do this. You’ve brought shame upon the FBI. You’ve brought shame upon the NSA and the DIA because you have.

And we ruthlessly remove them from office, every single one of them until they start holding themselves accountable. That’s what I’d do. And it’s got to happen. I spent my entire adult life physically protecting Americans and our allies.”


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