Senate Spy on Foreigners Without Warrants: Controversial Surveillance Program Reauthorized

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Senate Spy on Foreigners Without Warrants: Controversial Surveillance Program Reauthorized

The Decision to Renew Section 702

On a recent Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 7888, known as the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, effectively reauthorizing the surveillance authority under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This decision came with a significant majority, with Senators voting 60-34 in favor of renewing the program for an additional two years. The bill now awaits President Joe Biden’s signature to become law.

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Senate Spy on Foreigners Without Warrants: The legislation allows for continued surveillance of foreign targets located outside the U.S. without the necessity for a warrant, raising both support and concern among legislators. Despite the broad endorsement by both party leaders, an amendment requiring warrants to access U.S. citizens’ data collected through this surveillance was notably rejected.

Controversial Surveillance Expands

The renewed Section 702 expands the scope of what constitutes electronic communications and who can be surveilled, which has sparked debate among lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer emphasized the necessity of this capability for national security, stating it is crucial for preventing terrorism, drug trafficking, and extremism. Conversely, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed criticisms as “fear-mongering,” advocating for the bill as a means to protect the nation from foreign threats and terrorism.