House OKs Foreign Surveillance Program; Senate Vote Next

House OKs Foreign Surveillance Program; Senate Vote Next

House OKs Foreign Surveillance Program; Senate Vote Next

The House is set to vote on Thursday on a controversial renewal of the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless surveillance program - a vote that could give privacy advocates an unexpected victory.

The program is set to expire on January 19 unless Congress acts. He said Trump's "woes" began with surveillance.

More than an hour later, he reversed himself, saying "today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land". The bill now moves to the Senate, where Kentucky Republican Rand Paul has said he may attempt a filibuster unless the spy authority is weakened.

President Trump offered a series of confusing tweets about the bill Thursday morning, prompting Democrats to ask for a delay in the House vote.

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House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes said that the bill has the support of the Trump administration. "We need it! Get smart!", he posted.

It was created to spy on foreign citizens living outside the U.S. and specifically bars the targeting of American citizens or anyone residing in the U.S. But critics say the program also sweeps up the electronic data of innocent Americans who may be communicating with foreign nationals, even when those foreigners aren't suspected of terrorist activity.

Asked by Reuters at a conference in NY about Trump's tweets, Rob Joyce, the top White House cyber official, said there was no confusion within Oval Office about the value of the surveillance program and that there have been no cases of it being used improperly for political purposes. House Judiciary members have introduced a different FISA reauthorization bill that goes further in terms of reforms but hasn't completely satisfied civil liberties demands.

Nunes said his bill strengthens privacy protections "without hindering the ability of our intelligence professionals to monitor terror suspects, analyze collected data, and keep us safe". "And I think the communication from the White House made it a little more ambiguous".

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And House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called Ryan and urged him to pull the reauthorization bill in light of the President's tweet, a senior Democratic source said.

The measure aims to more tightly restrict how the names of Americans kept secret in intelligence reports can be revealed, particularly during presidential transitions. And Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Intelligence Committee Democrat (who supports the bill), recommended it be temporarily pulled in response to Trump's "irresponsible" comments.

Thoughtful leaders on both sides of the aisle know FISA section 702 is a vital and carefully overseen tool to protect this country. Privacy advocates have said the government should obtain a warrant before searching 702 databases for Americans' information, and have raised extra concern about the prospect of the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducting such searches for criminal, rather than national security, purposes.

Those opposed said it would prevent US law enforcement and intelligence agencies from uncovering potential threats to national security. It would require the government to obtain a warrant before searching 702 data for information about Americans.

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