Congress Allows Controversial Surveillance Program

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( – Congress has approved a defense policy bill that will extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Section 702 until mid-April if signed by President Biden. The short-term extension will allow Congress to have more time to decide on how to reform the law.

FISA gives the government permission to spy on foreigners that are outside the United States, however, Americans who are in communication with those individuals might find that their information is also gathered by the government during those searches. As a result, they have agreed that there need to be new limitations set to this authority to limit any possible abuse of the tool by government agencies, including the FBI.

While this inclusion ensures that there will not be an end-of-the-year expiration on the powers of FISA. This, however, will also extend the conflict on whether or not the government should receive a warning prior to reviewing the information that it had collected that relates to American citizens.

Many conservative lawmakers have stated that they are frustrated over the inclusion of the provision in a must-pass bill. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) stated that it was impossible right now to oppose the National Defense Authorization Act as they had put an increase in it. He added that just because they have added something in, it does not mean that they should not address the civil liberties that are being destroyed through the inclusion of a FISA extension. However, he stated that the reauthorization should have been its own stand-alone bill.

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