US House passes NSA spying bill after Trump tweets cause confusion

US House passes NSA spying bill after Trump tweets cause confusion

US House passes NSA spying bill after Trump tweets cause confusion

As Matthew Gertz of Media Matters pointed out, Trump's decision to denounce FISA was tweeted at the same time that "Fox & Friends" was connecting the act to Trump's ongoing woes over accusations that his presidential campaign colluded with Russian government officials.

On the blinking lines: Republican lawmakers and top intelligence officials perplexed that Trump had appeared to contradict more than a week of public statements from the administration in support of the reauthorization, which allows the government to conduct warrantless spying on U.S. soil.

The measure would give US spy agencies a six-year extension of what they consider their key national security surveillance tool: their ability to collect from USA internet companies the emails and other communications of foreign targets located outside the United States.

The programs rest on the notion that they are "targeting" foreigners, but they also collect massive amounts of data on Americans, including wholly domestic communications.

Trump's original tweet enraged Democrats who have been working with moderate Republicans to reauthorize the legislation. A proposed amendment to Section 702 to require authorities to obtain court warrants failed 233-183 with support from libertarians and privacy advocates. "Men aren't angels. We need to make sure somebody is watching and there are checks and balances". The problem, according to privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, is that the emails, photos, texts and other electronic communications of USA citizens and legal US residents are also collected while our government is spying on foreigners.

In his tweets, the president also threw in an attack on the investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible collusion with Trump associates.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Wednesday evening that the Trump administration wants Congress to reauthorize a section of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act without amending the law to place new restrictions on information gathering. "All night long Republican and Democratic leadership have been twisting arms and trying to bribe people to change their votes". The House voted on, but rejected, a measure on Thursday that would have taken away some of the power that intelligence agencies now enjoy.

Comey said Thursday that he hoped members of Congress would break through the politics to vote to reauthorized Section 702 so that aspect of US surveillance remains in effect.

That bet paid off with a strong vote for the FISA reauthorization, with lawmakers providing over 40 votes more than what was needed to pass the bill.

After the bill passed, some in the White House expressed relief that yet another crisis had been averted.

I am surprised that President Donald Trump supports this. "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?" he added. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the bill, "fails to meaningfully restrict the use of Section 702 to spy on Americans without a warrant".

Napolitano said that the president's "woes began with unlawful foreign surveillance and unconstitutional domestic surveillance of him" before he assumed office. Trump issued a second tweet, more supportive of the surveillance authority, after his talk with Ryan.

Trump's administration has been consistent in pushing for the FISA program to be reauthorized, with FBI Director Christopher Wray calling it a valuable tool to fight terrorism.

The U.S. intelligence services are enacting a mandate from President Donald Trump to establish guidelines on "unmasking" the identities of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports.

How do I know if my emails or texts have been collected or searched under this law?

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