House Votes to Renew Controversial NSA Surveillance Law

House Votes to Renew Controversial NSA Surveillance Law

After releasing an official statement supporting the bill, the president sent a tweet Thursday morning questioning whether the Trump campaign was surveilled under the program - an accusation made without evidence.

House Republicans passed legislation on Thursday morning reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a crucial element in the operation of the USA intelligence community, in a 256-164 vote.

The White House on Wednesday had issued a statement opposing an amendment seeking to blunt some of the program's powers and shield communications of Americans who may get caught up in efforts to pick up foreign electronic communications.

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. We need it! Get smart!" he wrote.

He was referring to an explosive and largely uncorroborated dossier that details claims about ties between Russian Federation and Mr. Trump and his aides.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to clarify Trump's tweet, but he posted a follow-up less than two hours later, after speaking on the phone with House Republican leader Paul Ryan. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., that would have required federal agents to get warrants before searching through Americans' data. But intelligence and law enforcement officials argued that it was unnecessary, and risky, to limit security officials from being able to freely gain access to information the government already possessed.

The bill still needs to be passed by the US Senate before heading to President Donald Trump for his signature. FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress modified after 2008 to legalize warrantless surveillance of foreigners overseas even if they are talking to Americans.


Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Amash's amendment would "clear and simple, disable Section 702, our most important national security tool".

The House rejected the amendment 233-183, in a closer vote than expected, and approved the reauthorization by a vote of 256-164.

It is routine practice for the FBI to run searches through data collected pursuant to Section 702 even during the preliminary stages of an investigation, according to the article by Sharon Bradford Franklin, a senior fellow at New America's Open Technology Institute. "The president doesn't feel that we should have to choose between protecting American citizens and protecting their civil liberties".

House Speaker Paul Ryan said that in March 2016, the eavesdropping "gave us the intelligence we needed to go after and kill ISIS's finance minister".

Press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters there was no contradiction in Trump's tweets on the surveillance program and that he was voicing broader concerns about FISA.

On Thursday, the House voted to approve legislation that would extend the National Security Administration's warrantless spying authority. Sen.

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