House votes to renew FISA surveillance program, following mixed messages from Trump

12 January, 2018, 03:25 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma listen at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump adm

He was referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which lets agencies collect information on foreign targets overseas.

"The House voted today to give President Trump and his administration more spying powers".

"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump wrote headline. Despite the fact that Section 702 explicitly prohibits the targeting of U.S. citizens and residents, the government has routinely engaged in these "backdoor searches".

Critics of the law say that USA intelligence agencies can still go after foreign terrorists while protecting Americans' basic rights.

So what's wrong with that?

His thoughts echo chose of privacy groups - and go against those of the intelligence community, which considers the programme, called Section 702 after the part of the act that established it, its key national security surveillance tool.

That could happen if a citizen is communicating with a foreigner who is under surveillance, even if that foreigner isn't suspected of being a terrorist.

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Senior government officials can ask spy agencies to unmask the names of Americans or USA organisations if they believe that will help them better understand the underlying intelligence.

Under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Americans are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Section 702 allows the NSA to eavesdrop on vast amounts of digital communications from foreigners living outside the United States through US companies such as Facebook Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google. In other words, if you call your cousin who is overseas, your conversation with her could be monitored by the US government. The problem, critics say, is not simply that the information is collected but what is done with it after it is gathered.

The biggest sticking point for privacy advocates, including the ACLU, has been a policy allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to bypass getting a warrant before accessing emails and other communications of Americans collected by the NSA under these programs.

"Politicians who support broad, unchecked government surveillance authorities are once again rushing to approve a sweeping program at the expense of Americans' personal liberty and constitutional rights", Sen. I just think we have to stipulate to some set of facts.

There's no way to know for sure unless you are charged with a crime and prosecutors disclose that they have evidence obtained through Section 702.

What did Congress do Thursday?

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As Congress nears an impending January 19 vote on the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Sen.

The issue centered on a law called Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

The House defeated an alternative bill by Reps. But it would require investigators to get probable cause warrants to view the actual content in cases unrelated to national security.

The White House also issued a statement of policy backing the House bill and sent Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to the House to monitor the vote. Trump appeared to quote the on-air banner used during the segment in his tweet.

Congress did, in 2015, vote to end and replace a program that Mr. Snowden exposed under which the N.S.A., under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, had been secretly collecting logs of Americans' domestic phone calls in bulk. Trump walked back the tweet roughly two hours later, drawing a distinction between "unmasking" - a term used to denote the practice of revealing the identity of Americans who communicate with foreign surveillance targets - and the surveillance of "foreign bad guys". But less than two hours later, the president appeared to reverse himself, telling lawmakers to "Get smart!"

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted there is an amendment in the House bill, written by MI libertarian Republican Rep. Justin Amash, that would add this unmasking protection Trump says he wants. "And people have been going, 'Yeah but FISA and unmasking.' And we've had to say, 'Look, they're separate'".

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