House reauthorizes FISA despite Trump's confusing tweets

In the four years since Snowden blew the lid off U.S. surveillance overseas the number of targets the U.S. is monitoring around the globe has steadily increased. (Den

Trump Mocked After Doing a 180 on FISA in Under Two Hours. He's Now Claiming He 'Personally Directed the Fix' to Unmasking.

President Trump sent mixed signals about a controversial surveillance law in a pair of Thursday-morning tweets, just hours before the House of Representatives voted to extend the provision.

Technically, the program authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act doesn't allow the US government to collect emails, texts and other data about Americans.

The bill would extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act until December 31, 2023. Mike Lee (R-UT) tweeted there is an amendment in the House bill, written by MI libertarian Republican Rep. Justin Amash, that would add this unmasking protection Trump says he wants. That bill would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to get a warrant only if it wants to actually view the contents of Americans' communications in the foreign intelligence database and use it to investigate domestic crimes.

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

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

"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", Trump wrote. "We need it! Get smart!", he posted.

According to the EFF, multiple legal loopholes exist in the FISA law, section 702, which allows the government to spy on masses of innocent people, both overseas and at home, in the U.S.

Rep. Mark Meadows, who is backing an amendment - opposed by the White House - to make major changes to the FISA bill, said the President's tweets have "given people pause".

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been renewed by the House of Representatives. Nevertheless, the House bill aiming to expand NSA surveillance is called S. 139, and it has nothing to do with an actual Senate bill with the same name.

More news: HP recalls 50000 faulty laptop batteries; offers replacement

GOP leaders made a decision to bring the Nunes bill to the floor rather than legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee that supporters say had stronger privacy provisions.

They're pushing an alternative that would require the government to have a warrant before it snoops through the data to investigate Americans for ordinary crimes.

Known to insiders as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the law grants the government surveillance powers that are only supposed to be used on targets outside the United States.

"Section 702 was written to go after terrorists, but it is being used to go after Americans", Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said Thursday morning on the House floor.

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

Section 702 is due to expire next week, though intelligence officials say it could continue until April. For example, it could be used to find evidence that an American citizen isn't paying his or her taxes or has committed a minor drug offense, according to the ACLU and other civil liberties groups.

"Spying on foreigners without following the constitution, that is okay", Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu said during debate on the amendment. Ron Wyden of OR and GOP Sens. The USA Rights Act would require the government to get a warrant before performing this kind of backdoor search.

The bipartisan coalition backing overhaul efforts - which includes some of the most conservative and most liberal members of the House - argued that change was necessary to uphold the meaning and substance of Fourth Amendment privacy rights in light of 21st-century communications technology and surveillance powers.

Latest News