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    House Approves Renewal Of FISA, But Only For Two Years

    April 12, 2024
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    Publisher's Note: The House today also defeated an amendment requiring a warrant to spy on American citizens.


    The House voted to reauthorize the FISA surveillance program on Friday, just two days after 19 conservatives blocked the legislation on the floor. 

    The vote’s overwhelming bipartisan final count was 273 in favor and 147 opposed. Of those who supported the legislation, 126 were Republicans and 147 Democrats.

    The bill reforms and extends a portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702 for a shorter period of two years, instead of the full five-year reauthorization initially proposed. 

    "The two-year timeframe is a much better landing spot because it gives us two years to see if any of this works rather than kicking it out five years," said Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX). "They say these reforms are going to work. Well, I guess we'll find out."

    The legislation permits the government to collect, without a warrant, the communications of non-Americans outside the U.S. to gather foreign intelligence. The reauthorization is tied to a series of reforms aimed at satisfying the critics who have complained of civil liberties violations. Former President Trump is a critic of FISA. 

    To appease some of those critics, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) will put forth a separate proposal next week that would close a loophole that allows U.S. officials to gather data on Americans from big tech companies without a warrant.

    "All of that added up to something that I think gave a greater deal of comfort," Congressman Roy said.

    FISA was first authorized in 2008 and its intended use was used to thwart terror attacks and cyber intrusions and produce intelligence.

    Former President Donald Trump has been a critic of FISA.

    “We just bought President Trump an at bat,” said Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FLA), one of the 19 rebels. "The previous version of this bill would have kicked reauthorization beyond the Trump presidency. Now President Trump gets an at bat to fix the system that victimized him more than any other American.”

    The bill is expected go to the Senate next week ahead of an April 19 deadline to renew or sunset FISA Section 702. 

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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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