House votes to reauthorize controversial FISA

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Prior to Congress voting to retain powers allowing the electronic surveillance of non-Americans, the US president attacked the controversial FISA act. By contrast, a White House statement supported the legislation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been renewed by the House of Representatives. Originally enacted in 1978, the act outlines the lawful procedure for collecting foreign intelligence.

FISA Section 702 allows the US government to pull in communications from foreign nationals but does not permit surveillance of US citizens, even if they are suspected of criminality or terrorism.

Ahead of a vote to extend FISA for six years, US President Donald Trump hit out at the key intelligence provision.

“House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” 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?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018

It came less than 24 hours after the US president’s own press secretary issued a statement detailing how the administration opposed a change to FISA and called for its reauthorization.

“The Administration strongly opposes the ‘USA Rights’ amendment to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, which the House will consider tomorrow,” the statement read.

“This amendment would re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that our country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11 in order to increase information sharing and improve national security. The Administration urges the House to reject this amendment and preserve the useful role FISA’s Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives.”

Trump later updated his stance through a tweet declaring that the country needs FISA.

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2018

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