Trump Signs Bill to Reauthorize Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

20 January, 2018, 08:10 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Dominique Pineiro  ZUMA Press  Newscom

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which the Senate voted to renew with a few small tweaks this week, allows the U.S.to spy on foreigners overseas.

In a statement, Trump said it allows the Intelligence Community, under a robust regime of oversight by all three branches of Government, to collect critical intelligence on global terrorists, weapons proliferators, and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the US.

Supporters of the surveillance program have repeatedly complained that issues such as unmasking have been conflated with Section 702.

"This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?" the presidential tweet said.

The measure passed 65-34, with support from Republicans and Democrats. John McCain, R-Ariz., was absent.

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"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump tweeted. But it would require a warrant to view the actual content in cases unrelated to national security. "This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election", Trump said in a Twitter message on Friday.

Opponents, led by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of OR, introduced an amendment that would impose stricter privacy protections when law enforcement agencies query the FISA database for communications involving Americans.

The provision "is the single most effective tool that we have to assure the American people that we're doing everything we can to provide their safety", Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said on the Senate floor before the vote.

But as the bill made its way to Trump's desk Friday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans produced a four-page memo that had some saying it was evidence the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump during the campaign. The ACLU said Trump's tweet saying the law he signed was different from the one "so wrongly abused" before was not accurate.

With the signing, he bill got a new six years extension.

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