House votes to renew controversial surveillance program that powers the NSA

In the four years since Snowden blew the lid off U.S. surveillance overseas the number of targets the U.S. is monitoring around the globe has steadily increased. (Den

House Renews FISA Without Added Privacy Protections

Using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on foreigners in foreign lands is one thing, but when it's used to collect data on Americans, that should be opposed, Sen. Section 702 of the FISA law was passed in 2008 after the Bush administration was shown to have allowed the then-illegal surveillance of telephone and online communications of U.S. citizens and residents in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Lawmakers in the House are weighing whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation should have to get a warrant to either query information on Americans in the database or seek a warrant only if the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants to actually view the contents of the material and use it for investigating and prosecuting domestic crimes.

The program became public in 2008 after the Edward Snowden revelations, and privacy and citizen rights groups have been trying to shut it down ever since, calling it a "backdoor to the Fourth Amendment" that allows USA authorities to sift through USA and non-US citizens' private conversations without a warrant.

Until that tweet, the Trump administration had strongly pressed Congress to extend the authority, before it lapses on Jan 19. In fact, on Wednesday evening, the White House Office of the Press Secretary released a statement that "urges the House to... preserve the useful role FISA's Section 702 plays in protecting American lives".

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, suggested that the House should hold off on voting until representatives had more clarity on Mr Trump's tweets. Trump hints in his first tweet that it may have been used under the Obama administration to spy on his campaign.

"The president fully supports the 702 and is happy to see that it passed the House today", she said. The president, after issuing some confusing and contradictory tweets about the law, supports the House action, according to the White House.

The House rejected the amendment 233-183, in a closer vote than expected, and approved the reauthorization by a vote of 256-164. "We need it! Get smart!" he followed up.

Paul's position on FISA pits him against the Trump administration, which wants FISA Section 702 reauthorized without changes.

"This is Title 7, Section 702".

President Donald Trump had an interesting day on Twitter.

Lawmakers shot down an amendment proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to place new limits on when the government is able to spy on Americans.

Trump's initial message came shortly after Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano appeared on "Fox & Friends" and urged the President not to back FISA reauthorization.

National security officials say it is a critical program used to protect the country from everything from terrorists to nuclear proliferation, while civil liberties advocates say it needs more privacy guarantees for Americans whose communications with foreigners are swept up by the program.

Latest News