A Controversial Surveillance Bill Is Headed To President Trump

A Controversial Surveillance Bill Is Headed To President Trump

While the law targets non-US citizens, critics warn the government may incidentally monitor USA citizens who are communicating with non-US citizens outside the United States. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, argue that FISA and all of its both enumerated and unlisted powers are necessary for the USA intelligence agencies to combat crime overseas, particularly terrorism.

Leading into the vote, Wyden and Paul co-authored a letter rejecting the FISA bill as an "end-run on the Constitution".

"We had a bipartisan coalition who worked very hard to protect people's rights, and we will continue to fight and continue to educate our colleagues about it", Representative Justin Amash (R-MI), who sponsored the amendment, told The New York Times after the vote.

While agencies like the NSA have indubitably been spying on US citizens for decades, something that I don't see anyone else reporting on or discussing when bringing up the news today is the fact that earlier this year the NSA and US Federal Government did vote to limit their own jurisdiction when investigating foreign targets in the future. The reauthorization now goes to the Senate for a vote. Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, called the program the "single most important intelligence tool that exists" to keep America safe. And the bill still lets the Federal Bureau of Investigation search surveillance data related to US persons before it opens a criminal case.

"We need to strike a balance between liberty and security and not give the government unchecked surveillance power", said Sen.

The Senate advanced legislation Tuesday to extend the government's authority to spy on suspected foreign terrorists' communications, setting up a vote for final passage before the program is set to expire Friday night.

It forces Internet companies like Google and Facebook to share data with the agencies and let them carry out searches of their users' communications.

But the legislation, which also cleared the House last week, appeared likely to pass.

In a letter to fellow senators circulated on January 12, Senators Paul, Wyden, Mike Lee (R-UT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) urged their colleagues to oppose the reauthorization of Section 702: "It endorses the possibility that the government will resume "about" collections on Americans, a practice that the government was actually forced to abandon previous year due to significant noncompliance with privacy protections ordered by the FISA Court". Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) had threatened to filibuster the bill, which they argued was a threat to Americans' Fourth Amendment rights.

The White House had opposed an amendment, which failed in both the House and Senate, that would have ended warrantless backdoor searches of Americans' calls, emails, texts and other communications.

At first the president issued a tweet highly critical of Section 702, which contradicted the press secretary's policy statement, but later clarified his position; John Roberts has the roundup on 'Special Report'. However, because these Federal investigations are so large and can encompass so many people, many United States citizens accidentally get caught up in surveillance records tied to these FISA investigations.

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