Biden Approves Legislation To Renew FISA Program

Biden Approves Legislation To Renew FISA Program

( – President Joe Biden has signed legislation authorizing an extension of powers under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The program has been mired in controversy over concerns about it being used to inappropriately access Americans’ information. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer described passing the legislation 15 minutes before its expiry, saying lawmakers “persisted and persisted” until reaching a breakthrough.

The FBI and CIA both lobbied for Section 702’s reauthorization, saying it was essential in keeping America safe. Initially enacted in 2008 and extended several times since then, its powers were due to expire on April 20, but lawmakers agreed on an extension with only minutes remaining.

Last year, a federal court found that the FBI had misused Section 702 on 278,000 occasions. The law permits law enforcement agencies to intercept and observe communications involving non-US citizens located abroad.

However, the court said the federal agency had unlawfully used its powers to misuse intelligence in the United States for several years. Furthermore, it was employed to investigate those present in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, and those who attended protests that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) vociferously opposed the reauthorization, saying Section 702 violates the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which requires authorities to obtain a warrant to observe the communications of private individuals. The organization proposes reforming the legislation and adding a warrant requirement and accuses lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives of failing to protect the Constitutional civil liberties of US citizens.

In the House, the legislation passed by 273 votes to 147, and in the Senate, by 60 votes to 34. Donald Trump opposes Section 702 and took to his Truth Social media account to denounce its reauthorization. Trump urged lawmakers to “kill FISA,” alleging it was used against him.

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