Sci-tech

House Passes Extension of Controversial FISA Surveillance Tools, Rejects New Restrictions

House Passes Extension of Controversial FISA Surveillance Tools, Rejects New Restrictions

After a few confusing tweets, President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed the House to renew a critical national security program that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets overseas.

By contrast, the USA RIGHTS amendment contains meaningful reforms to Section 702, which are imperative given our government's historical abuse of surveillance authorities, contemporary noncompliance with this authority, and the danger posed by potential future abuses.

Mr. Trump's first tweet on the topic appeared to encourage lawmakers to support limiting the law.

"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump tweeted.

An amendment imposing that mandate failed in a House vote as representatives approved the larger programme with minimal changes.

"What this essentially means is every year, thousands of times you have the government search for the communications of Americans in [Section] 702 databases, and we think this is an end-run on the Constitution".

President Donald Trump's morning penchant for firing off controversial messages on Twitter potentially derailed his administration's policy Thursday, after he came out against a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act renewal his own Administration is pushing.

Trump, who is known to watch Fox News while he is tweeting, posted his tweet shortly after a Fox News legal analyst appealed directly to the president during a Thursday morning segment about the coming House vote.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that a key program to collect foreign intelligence could have been used to "badly surveil and abuse" his campaign.

"We need it!" he said.

Before approving the extension, the House voted 233 to 183 to reject an amendment that would have overhauled the current program.

The White House has issued statements this week and asked lawmakers to reauthorise it, even urging members late Wednesday night to reject a proposed amendment to the measure that would weaken the bill and likely kill its chances of passage in the Senate. "We understand there are threats overseas, foreign targets, people we have to be concerned about to protect the safety of the American people - but what we are against is, without a warrant, having the communications of law-abiding Americans swept up in that process", he said.

Trump later tweeted what seemed to be a clarification of his position in favor of renewing the law, saying that "today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

His arguments echoed concerns that requiring a warrant even in cases directly related to national security - rather than other types of criminal investigations - would put up risky barriers to communication between U.S. intelligence agencies.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats calls this foreign intelligence the "holy grail" that provides insight into the thinking and actions of USA adversaries.

Nunes said his bill strengthens privacy protections "without hindering the ability of our intelligence professionals to monitor terror suspects, analyze collected data, and keep us safe". They argued that restrictions on the use of Americans' data in the Nunes bill are so narrow and allow so many exceptions that they're virtually meaningless.

"I absolutely oppose permanent reauthorization", Paul said in December.

Another major loophole of Section 702 of FISA is that the government collects broad information "about" a target.