House reauthorizes controversial surveillance program

Donald Trump

House reauthorizes controversial surveillance program

The program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows US spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the United States.

In developing sensitive national security legislation, Congress has a responsibility to strike an appropriate balance between ensuring the safety of Americans and protecting civil liberties.

The bill was approved by a margin of 256 to 164, and will now move to the Senate.

Earlier, the House rejected a measure that would have imposed stiffer restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The House Rules Committee met Tuesday and permitted an amendment by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) that would require warrants for any agency seeking access to American's data picked up in 702 intelligence operations. About 90 minutes later, the president issued a follow-up that attempted to walk back his original statement.

The law can be used "as a loophole that provides for the surveillance of American citizens in the course of spying operations on foreign targets", according to TechCrunch. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) argued that the amendment would lead to the country "flying blind" in its search for terrorism suspects. Trump wrote on Twitter.

"This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land", he tweeted. "We need it! Get smart!" The first Trump tweet was a clear break from the position embraced by the White House and the GOP, and the development caused significant commotion about whether Trump really knows anything about FISA. "It just was", Jackson said, before asking how people can trust administration officials to relay the president's positions if he changes them seemingly on a whim.

"The Administration strongly opposes the "USA Rights" amendment to the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act, which the House will consider tomorrow", the White House said in a statement late Wednesday. That caught aides and lawmakers off guard. A short time later, he went further.

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Trump might've had a lesson on what the FISA act is in between the two tweets.

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that will renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) program.

Trump, and Nunes, accused the Obama administration of improperly revealing the identities of members of the president's transition team.

Opponents of FISA reform say changing the rules would give more rights to terrorists and criminals. Judge Andrew Napolitano was also critical of the bill in a Fox News segment on Fox and Friends this morning.

In his Twitter post, Trump was referring to an explosive and largely uncorroborated dossier that details claims about ties between Russian Federation and Trump and his aides. He said Trump's "woes" began with surveillance. He has offered no proof for such claims.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has said that tips are flooding into the FBI by the thousands.

Those opposed said it would prevent US law enforcement and intelligence agencies from uncovering potential threats to national security.

In a recent speech, Wray said: "I'm going to say this over and over and over again".

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