Paul calls for filibuster of surveillance bill

  • Paul calls for filibuster of surveillance bill

Paul calls for filibuster of surveillance bill

The US House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday that will renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) program.

After releasing an official statement supporting the bill, the president sent a tweet Thursday morning questioning whether the Trump campaign was surveilled under the program - an accusation made without evidence.

The measure would give US spy agencies a six-year extension of what they consider their key national security surveillance tool: their ability to collect from USA internet companies the emails and other communications of foreign targets located outside the United States.

The House is voting Thursday on possible changes. In one tweet, he linked the FISA program that his White House supports to a dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation. To ensure a smoother ride, Senate majority whip John Cornyn (R-TX) suggested that the House bill might get attached to the omnibus spending bill that will need to get approved by January 19th to avoid a shutdown, which is coincidentally the same date as the expiration of 702's current authorization. It is unclear what the dossier has to do with unmasking or the reauthorization of the spying program, but Trump has been repeatedly denouncing it in recent days. According to the Washington Post, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) called Trump to explain the law after Trump's first tweet.

Although controversial, officials from Democratic and Republican administrations have argued the eavesdropping tool is vital to counterterrorism and counterespionage efforts and has saved lives - an argument echoed by Trump's own White House.

Some Democrats, including the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, California Congressman Adam Schiff, called for a delay in the Thursday vote because of what he called the "irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages" coming out of the White House. FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress modified after 2008 to legalize warrantless surveillance of foreigners overseas even if they are talking to Americans. "It is well-known that he has concerns about the domestic FISA law", said Ryan, who went on to acknowledge that the domestic law was "not what we're doing today".

The Trump administration had wanted the program to be reauthorized without change, but later said it was willing to back legislation that would impose moderate restrictions on the Federal Bureau of Investigation access to Americans' communications.

Endorses almost all warrantless searches of databases containing Americans' communications collected under Section 702.

FBI Director Christopher Wray says the law is a valuable tool for the fighting terrorism. Some privacy groups said it would actually expand the NSA's surveillance powers.

"This morning he put out two tweets that were so undermining of what we were trying to do of the floor in terms of FISA", she said.

The bill will now move to the Senate, which will likely pass it before it expires next Friday.