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Surveillance State: FISA and the Section 702 Fight

11 January 2018

"With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land", Trump tweeted.

The bill as passed by the House would extend the NSA's spying program for six years with minimal changes. But under the eavesdropping authorized by the law's Section 702, the NSA incidentally collects a lot of communications of Americans without individual warrants.

The House on Thursday reauthorized a surveillance program used by the country's intelligence agencies to spy on foreigners but voted against limiting it.

The Section 702 program was originally approved by Congress in 2008 to increase the government's ability to track and thwart foreign terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump wrote, citing a Fox News headline.

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It was created to spy on foreign citizens living outside the U.S. and specifically bars the targeting of American citizens or anyone residing in the U.S. But critics say the program also sweeps up the electronic data of innocent Americans who may be communicating with foreign nationals, even when those foreigners aren't suspected of terrorist activity. Logically, the president of the United States of America listened to the person on his TV and sent a tweet that contradicted the position his own White House and national security team have taken on the bill.

Before approving the FISA reauthorization bill, the House voted down a plan from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who joined other critics in arguing that new limits on that surveillance are needed, saying the current system allows warrantless searches on American citizens.

In a recent speech, Wray said: "I'm going to say this over and over and over again".

A White House official said staffers had consulted with Trump after his initial tweets opposing the administration's stance.

The bill also would temporarily stop federal agents from collecting communications that mention a surveillance target - but aren't to or from that target - until the Intelligence Community presents Congress with new procedures for gathering information.

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"What this [amendment] really adds that's important is that warrant requirement to search on Americans", he said. They are not using this data to prosecute Americans for tax evasion, they say - they are using it for terrorism cases.

But a coalition of 44 diverse groups from the liberal ACLU to the conservative FreedomWorks opposed Nunes' bill and supported the Amash-Lofgren legislation. Under it, a court that hears secret national security matters decides whether to let the National Security Agency collect emails, documents and other internet communications in government surveillance programs known as Prism and Upstream.

The debate over national security and civil liberties is coming to a head this week, as a bill backed by the heads of the House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) is expected on the House floor.

"I don't think anyone can know for sure right now".

"This is a responsible compromise between those who would say we ought to have a clean reauthorization and those that say we shouldn't be doing queries of USA persons under any circumstances", Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, said Tuesday during a lengthy Rules Committee hearing.

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the Nunes bill is so "deeply flawed" that it jeopardizes the renewal of the anti-terrorism law altogether.

Surveillance State: FISA and the Section 702 Fight