- The Washington Times - Monday, March 2, 2020

The American Civil Liberties Union is launching a six-figure television and digital ad campaign pushing for reforms to federal surveillance laws and attacking a “rogue FBI.”

The 30-second ad will air on Fox News, especially the morning program “Fox & Friends,” in Washington area, Kentucky and several other states. The ad is aimed at reaching President Trump and highlights “spying” on Carter Page, a Trump 2016 campaign adviser.

“President Trump, as Congress considers the Patriot Act, tell them to rein in a rogue FBI and reform our surveillance laws so that this never happens again,” a narrator says in the ad.

The ad is part of a larger effort led by the ACLU and the right-leaning FreedomWorks urging reform to surveillance laws, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

The FBI withheld information from the FISA Court to obtain a warrant to surveil Mr. Page, the Justice Department inspector general concluded.

Previously, the two groups pledged to spend at least $10,000 on a digital ad campaign on FISA legislation, which targeted federal lawmakers in California, Georgia, North Carolina and New York. 

As the two groups apply pressure to Congress, they are aiming to earn Mr. Trump’s attention with the new ad so that he will help them accomplish their agenda. 

“We hope that we can reach President Trump with the message that there is massive bipartisan agreement with him that the government’s surveillance authorities urgently need serious reform,” said Josh Withrow, FreedomWorks senior policy analyst, in a statement. “Just as the process that enabled the spying on his campaign was broken, so too is a system that allows the communications and data of millions of Americans to be intercepted by the government without a warrant.”

The ad is set to run through Friday, when the most recent digital ad campaign on FISA legislation is also set to end. 

The digital campaign is focused on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat; Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the judiciary committee; Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican; and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, according to Facebook’s Ad Library. The ACLU said it is finalizing ad buys in other states to add to its television ad campaign.

“If President Trump wants to do right by Carter Page and all Americans, he should demand truly meaningful reforms to our surveillance laws and dismiss any proposals for small ‘fixes’ or clean reauthorizations that [Representative] Adam Schiff or [U.S. Attorney General] Bill Barr may be trying to pressure the president and Congress into accepting,” said Christopher Anders, ACLU deputy political director. “America will be watching.”

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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