Congress Just Gave Trump Admin Authorization To Spy On Citizens

Congress Just Gave Trump Admin Authorization To Spy On Citizens

Congress Just Gave Trump Admin Authorization To Spy On Citizens

President Donald Trump's puzzling tweets about a key US spying law threw the House into temporary disarray Thursday, but lawmakers ended up renewing the law - with a new restriction on when the Federal Bureau of Investigation can dig into the communications of Americans swept up in foreign surveillance.

Today in Congress, privacy reform faced a significant setback as the House voted 256 to 164 to extend a controversial piece of legislation that provides for a warrantless surveillance program that at times targets American citizens. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican who frequently champions civil liberties issues, threatened to filibuster the reauthorization, citing privacy concerns.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump's tweets were "inaccurate, conflicting and confusing statements" and Schiff unsuccessfully suggested that a vote on the bill should be delayed until the White House's position can be ascertained.

More than 50 House Democrats joined a majority of Republicans to shoot down an amendment that would have reined in US spying powers on Thursday, allowing a controversial surveillance reauthorization to pass with only minor reforms.

President Donald Trump appeared to muddy the House debate when he tweeted early Thursday that the "House votes on the controversial FISA ACT", and mused that the surveillance law could have been used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump attempted to clean up the confusion surrounding his tweet later Thursday morning, writing, "With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!" he tweeted.

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Senior government officials can ask spy agencies to unmask the names of Americans or USA organizations if they think it will help them better understand the underlying intelligence.

But Laperruque said it is possible that some Trump campaign staffers like foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos had their communications intercepted when they communicated with foreigners who were already under surveillance by the NSA. "We oppose any renewal of FISA that fails to close the "backdoor search loophole, ' which permits the continued searching of Americans' incidentally collected communications without a warrant based on probable cause".

A former Republican lawmaker who once declared that Trump's tweets "help" his agency, Pompeo had made a forceful case for reauthorizing the FISA program during a television interview five days ago. It allows warrantless surveillance outside the United States even if one end of the communication is an American on American soil. "Spying on Americans without following the constitution, that is not okay".

The White House supported the bill passed by the House on Thursday.

It's created to help prevent terrorism, but some lawmakers are concerned about government overreach, saying the laws are used to conduct warrantless searches of Americans. Paul said he could only support it if it includes his amendment.

The Wisconsin Republican is also the author of the Patriot Act that was passed in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and gave USA intelligence agencies vast powers in an attempt to stop further attacks. FISA is unconstitutional, and can potentially be abused by any president that wants to violate the privacy of an American citizen. "It's what brings Republicans and Democrats together". Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday in an op-ed.

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