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    Renewing FISA - Legalized Spying But With Limitations And Violations

    December 6, 2023
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    Image by Gibrán Aquino

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    Capitol Hill cannot agree on a lot but when it comes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, lawmakers are very concerned about reauthorizing the U.S. intelligence agencies’ warrantless surveillance powers, and want more restrictions and accountability.

    The current law, which is due to expire at the end of the year, requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant to review any information on Americans’ communication that are collected when they are targeting foreigners  under surveillance. There are exceptions to the rule under emergency situations. 

    The House bill focuses on restrictions accessing data collected on Americans with greater penalties for government officials, who violate the law.

    The congressional bill deals with Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That section allows the intelligence community to monitor foreigners’ communications abroad that may include Americans, who are in communication with those foreigners under surveillance. 

    Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ) has taken the lead on the bill with House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ranking member Jerold Nadler (D-NY), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) as cosponsors, The Hill reported.

     It differs from the House Intelligence bill that so far has less restrictions on Americans’ communications.

    Similar to the Senate bill sponsored by  Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the House Judiciary version forbids the U.S. government from buying information from data brokers to spy on Americans.

    The bill also restricts the number of FBI personnel that can conduct Section 702 searches. The argument for limiting the FBI personnel is based upon past abuse and invasion of privacy.  

    House Judiciary is currently set to mark up the bill on Wednesday.

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    Christine Dolan

    Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”
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