Trump Administration Urges Congress To Renew Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

By Aaron Kesel

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is urging Congress to “promptly” reauthorize section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) scheduled to expire at the end of this year.

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats also signed the letter, addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Section 702 of FISA “allows the Intelligence Community, under a robust regime of oversight by all three branches of government, to collect vital information about international terrorists, cyber actors, individuals and entities engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the United States,” Sessions and Coats wrote.

They added: “Reauthorizing this critical authority is the top legislative priority of the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community. As publicly reported by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, information collected under one particular section of FAA, Section 702, produces significant foreign intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism and other threats.”

FISA was enacted in 1978 as a response to illegal domestic surveillance operations revealed by two Senate committees in the 1970s, including President Richard Nixon’s use of federal intelligence agencies to monitor his political opponents. It was brought into law “to authorize electronic surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence information.”

The law requires the government to obtain a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before setting up an electronic or physical wiretap targeted at foreigners and foreign agents.

Congress amended FISA in 2007 to let the government wiretap communications that either begin or end outside the United States jurisdiction without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approval; in a stronger  2008 overhaul, they further limited that power to non-U.S. persons. The last reauthorization of the act was in 2012, which set the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2017.

The FISA law has long been criticized by privacy and civil liberties advocates like the EFF who say the order allows broad, intrusive spying without oversight. The section first gained renewed attention following the 2013 disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the agency carried out widespread monitoring of emails and other electronic communications through Prism, XKeyScore, Upstream and other NSA surveillance programs. In fact, the first Snowden leak was a FISC order issued to Verizon under Section 702 that required the company to turn over all of its calling records to the NSA.

In June earlier this year, President Trump’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Tom Bossert also urged Congress to review the piece of legislation before it expires on December 31st.

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit.

This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution. Like Activist Post on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube, follow on Twitter and at Steemit.

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8 Comments on "Trump Administration Urges Congress To Renew Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)"

  1. So they can keep spying on everyone everywhere. Even domestically.

  2. the fat orange clown is a national disgrace, if any of you morons dont agree ,then you are also a huge disgrace…. the clown is a traitor ……

    • So was Oebola, so are congress, so are they all!

      • the kenyan is gone, we have a new orange problem, why is it when most of you have no defense to defend the clown you all go after the kenyan? he doesnt matter anymore, lets grow up and see what the clown is doing or not doing, i voted for that disgrace, and i got duped, so lets move on and try to figure out what is going to happen now……….

  3. there is no law, only tyranny. Think and act accordingly.

  4. Bovine feces!
    “…and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the United States”
    If that were true, why are the vast majority of “warrants” FISC approves (in secret) for American citizens locate within the United States?
    The FISC is not a real court, regardless of what any administration tells you. Court proceedings are to be public knowledge. Americans aren’t even told who these so-called judges are! All proceedings are marked “secret”. Even their “administrative subpoenas” are cloaked in a blanket “gag order”.

    • Reminds me of the former Bolshevik USSR under both Lenin and Stalin .. The same type of court proceedings occurred back then .. The only difference between Bolshevik USSR and 21st Century USSA is the technology involved. There were no satellites until the 1960’s at the earliest and no computers until the 1990’s and Internet services until the 21st Century.
      Lenin and Stalin would’ve been both amazed and proud if they saw how far advanced surveillance of the people has grown in a century.

  5. So, apparently Trump wasn’t paying attention to the events of the world while he was building buildings and vacationing in his resort homes. He probably hadn’t even heard of “black helicopters.” Trump is getting sucked right into the government tyranny vortex thinking he’s fighting the bad guys!

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