US House Votes Decisively To Extend Controversial Surveillance Powers

12 January, 2018, 06:26 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Trump Has No Idea What His Own Administration's Policies Are

"The USA Rights Act reforms Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to end warrantless backdoor searches of Americans' calls, emails, texts and other communications that are routinely swept up under a program created to spy on foreign targets", said Poe.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that will renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) program.

The vote, 256-164, centered on an expiring law that permits the government, without a warrant, to collect communications of foreigners overseas from USA firms such as Google and AT&T - even when those targets are talking to Americans.

Critics of the FISA bill have advocated for the USA Rights amendment to the FISA legislation, which would restrict intelligence agents to access information on American citizens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in the Senate and by Amash, Ted Poe (R-Texas), and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) in the House. The provision would require the government to obtain a warrant before collecting information about Americans.

But two hours before that, he sent out a tweet suggesting that the program was used to collect information that might have been used to "badly surveil and abuse" his campaign. It is unclear what the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation has to do with unmasking or reauthorizing the spying program, but Trump has repeatedly denounced it in recent days.

Trump also tweeted about several other topics covered during Thursday morning's episode of "Fox & Friends".

Lieu's amendment to the law would have restored privacy protections that Americans are entitled to enjoy.

"Mr. President", Napolitano continued, looking straight into the camera to address Trump directly, "this is not the way to go". The president was seemingly misinformed about the nature of the vote and the substance of the bill, people said.

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Before the vote, Lieu authored an amendment to FISA law that would have allowed more oversight and required a FISA court authorize surveillance before the action is allowed to occur.

"FISA is something the President should have known about long before he turned on Fox this morning", Sen.

A senior Democratic source tells CNN Pelosi also called Ryan and urged him to pull the bill in light of the President's tweet.

In his second tweet Trump seemed to backtrack, pushing for the act to be re-upped. "We need it! Get smart!" he said in a post. Trump wrote on Twitter.

And they follow a simmering feud that Trump has waged with the CIA and other intelligence agencies since before he took office. The amendment failed to pass by a vote of 183 to 233.

The bill still has to get through the Senate, which may not necessarily be an easy task. The move follows unsubstantiated charges by President Donald Trump that his predecessor's administration spied on his campaign and improperly "unmasked" the identities of his associates during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition.

However, leaked documents provided by former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden showed that Section 702 had become the basis for a surveillance operation that far outweighed what was described on paper, per Lawfare. The way that works is that the government has a broad interpretation of what a "foreign communication" (encrypted communications are automatically considered foreign, for instance) means, which allows it to then spy on most Americans, using this loophole. As I said, Amash's charge included bipartisan support. Sen. He quickly issued another tweet stepping away from the first.

Then-FBI Director James Comey and his successor, Christopher Wray, along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, have pleaded with members of Congress not to get caught up in conflating terms and stories about surveillance. His earlier tweet could give some wavering Republicans cover to defect and back the USA Rights amendment, while the fact that Trump is focusing on the issue could increase pressures on Democrats to vote against the White House.

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