House Reauthorizes Surveillance Bill, Ryan Clarifies Trump's Concerns

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The House of Representatives on Thursday will vote on whether to extend a controversial program of warrantless spying on internet and phone networks put in place by the National Security Agency that dates back to the September 11 attacks. If the legislation passes in its current form, the Senate is expected to quickly take it up before the law authorizing the program expires on January 19. He said Trump's "woes" began with surveillance.

"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.

"House votes on controversial FISA ACT today".

The Amash amendment would replace the text of the HPSCI-backed bill with that of the USA RIGHTS Act, introduced in the Senate by Kentucky senator Rand Paul and OR senator Ron Wyden.

FISA is a program that lets the government collect electronic communications of foreigners overseas, even when they're talking to USA citizens; that includes emails and text messages.

President Donald Trump's sunrise tweet casting aspersions on the domestic surveillance program his own intelligence officials have called essential set off a thunderclap of concern in Washington - and underscored the pitfalls of the President's morning television tweet-alongs.

Just hours before Trump's tweet, the White House had urged lawmakers to oppose new rules that advocates say could gut the program.

But after the second tweet by the President - expressing support for the §702 FISA reauthorization - things calmed down, and the House moved to approve the plan.

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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". "I don't think they're mutually exclusive".

The legislation was supported by Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The bill also addresses the so-called "about" collection, a practice where the NSA may search through communications, including those of American citizens, in order to collect communications that are "about" a targeted non-American individual.

The White House declined to comment on who spoke to the President on Thursday about the FISA issue.

Civil liberties groups fear that the government can use that data to go after Americans for crimes such as tax evasion or minor drug offenses that have nothing to do with terrorism.

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.

Section 702 allows the NSA to eavesdrop on vast amounts of digital communications from foreigners living outside the United States through US companies such as Facebook Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

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