Congress takes another step toward reauthorizing controversial federal surveillance tool

Congress is now poised to extend the life of a key federal government surveillance tool, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

A bill to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA passed the House Rules Committee late Tuesday, the final hurdle to clear for a bill to receive House-wide consideration. It was adopted by 9 votes to 2.

Section 702 is a provision that allows the federal government to conduct warrantless surveillance of a foreign national outside the United States if he or she is suspected of having ties to terrorism, even if the person The other end of the line is an American citizen.

PUBLIC TRUST IN FBI HAS REACHED “THE RED ZONE,” US Moves Closer to “MAYHEM, CHAOS, ANARCHY”: WSJ COLUMNIST

FBI agents

The fight to renew FISA Section 702 is heating up on Capitol Hill with a deadline of April 19. (Getty)

National security hawks and members of the intelligence community have called it a critical tool in preventing another 9/11-style attack. But critics, who include both conservatives and progressives, have sought to limit its scope after reported cases of abuse to collect data on Americans.

The fight to renew Section 702 has been among the toughest that House Republicans have faced, while Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., also grapples with a razor-thin majority. The current process is the third attempt by House Republican leaders to renew the tool before the April 19 deadline.

VEHICLE CRASHES DOOR OF FBI OFFICE IN ATLANTA, DRIVER ARRESTED

Mike Johnson

President Mike Johnson must deal with a delicate subject and a very slim majority

The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, a compromise bill between the House Judiciary Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, aims to curb cases of abuse by establishing safeguards on access to data collected under Section 702, particularly if it involves a U.S. citizen. .

Under terms agreed to in the Rules Committee, the House will vote on an amendment supported by the Judiciary Committee to ban warrantless searches of U.S. citizens before voting on the final bill.

A Republican lawmaker opposed to the amendment told Fox News Digital on Tuesday evening: “It would effectively kill 702 people, if it passed.”

The final bill did not include an amendment called for by privacy advocates, led by Rep. Warran Davidson, R-Ohio, that would have forced the federal government to seek a warrant before purchasing U.S. citizens' data from from third-party brokers.

FBI DIRECTOR SAYS CHINESE HACKERS 'READY TO ATTACK' AS INFILTRATIONS REACH 'NO FEVER'

Representative Warren Davidson

Conservatives sought to include an amendment from Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, in the final bill, but it was ultimately left out. ((Photo by Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images))

Opponents of the provision, primarily from the House Intelligence Committee, complained that it was irrelevant to S. 702 and would have hampered its chances of passage in the Senate. .

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that Davidson's amendment would be voted on later as a standalone bill.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Section 702 renewal bill on Thursday, Fox News Digital has learned. On Wednesday, administration officials will descend on Capitol Hill for a briefing of all House members on FISA.

Tyler Olson of Fox News contributed to this report

Source

Leave a Comment