Trump suggests surveillance law could have been used to 'abuse' his campaign

Adjust Comment Print

Trump has been critical of "unmasking", a term used to describe revealing identities of Americans who were communicating with foreign officials under surveillance by the U.S. intelligence community.

Which surveillance program are we talking about here?

It was legally authorised in 2008 by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the bill next week after it returns from a break, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.

In October 2017, Senators Paul and Wyden introduced S. 1997, the USA Rights Act, in the Senate to end warrantless backdoor searches of Americans' calls, emails, texts, and other communications that are routinely swept up under a program created to spy on foreign targets.

So what's wrong with that?

However, as revealed by Snowden, the government circumvents constitutional protections from warrantless surveillance by allowing the NSA to conduct so-called "backdoor searches". It also could happen if two Americans are communicating with one another and mention the name of a foreigner who is under surveillance. "No American should have their right to privacy taken away".

Before approving the extension of the law, the House voted 233 to 183 to reject an amendment to require a warrant before intelligence officials spy on USA persons. And it would forbid "reverse targeting", where the feds snoop on foreign targets for the goal of accessing the communications of the Americans talking to them. Those who backed the measure argued that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should not be able to query Americans' information in the database without a warrant.

How do I know if my emails or texts have been collected or searched under this law?

In the wake of dismissing Amash's correction, the House passed a fundamental bill supported by individuals from the House Intelligence and Judiciary boards of trustees that recharged the NSA's warrantless observation program with only a couple of little changes.

Doug Jones cosponsors bill to renew CHIP funding
Congress approved $2.85 billion for the program before Christmas, hoping it would last though March. But officials say some states could start running out of money as early as next week .

What did Congress do Thursday?

The government must have a documented foreign intelligence goal for surveilling anyone using Section 702.

The House also rejected an amendment proposed by Rep. It would require investigators to get a warrant to look at Americans' information, but only after the government has started an investigation.

Trump's administration has pushed for the FISA programme to be reauthorised, with FBI Director Christopher Wray calling it a valuable tool to fight terrorism.

When intelligence agency and congressional leaders saw that post, only hours before the scheduled House vote, they scrambled to urge Trump to follow up restating his official support.

The White House sent mixed signals on its position this week, generating confusion just before the vote.

That's the section of the law the House voted today to extend-it's set to expire next Friday, and the Trump administration has argued that renewing it is critical to national security.

"With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

On Wednesday, the White House issued a statement opposing changes to the program.

On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Senate started considering the extension to the spy program with several Senators vowing to oppose the bill.