Jan 24, 2018

GREENVILLE, NC – Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is supporting calls for the House Intelligence Committee to release a staff memo on alleged abuse of federal surveillance law known as FISA.  Congressman Jones released the following statement about the matter:

“I share the concern about government abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).  For years, I have joined with Senator Rand Paul and several of my colleagues in the House Liberty Caucus to sound the alarm about loopholes in the act which allow the government to violate the constitutional rights of Americans.  I have advocated for fixes to the law and opposed legislation that would allow these abuses to continue.  In fact, earlier this month I voted against a bill to reauthorize FISA Section 702, which has been used to spy on American citizens, in violation of the 4th Amendment. 

In addition, I have always been a strong supporter of transparency and open government.  I led the successful initiatives to declassify the 28 pages of the 9-11 report, and to declassify the previously unreleased federal files on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 

In the case of the classified memo in question, the rules of the House of Representatives lay out a process for the House Intelligence Committee to vote to declassify the memo and make it available to the public.  That vote could occur as soon as next week.  If the committee voted to do so, the President would then have five days to either approve the release to the public or recommend against it.  If approved, the memo would then be released.  While I do not serve on the House Intelligence Committee, and am therefore not able to vote on this matter, my long-standing view is that as long as release of classified material will not harm national security, there should be no problem making it available to the public.  Only through transparency and openness can we learn the truth, conduct appropriate oversight, and hold government officials accountable.” 

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at or (202) 225-3415.