Search on TFTC
U.S. House Votes to Extend FISA 702 Surveillance 'Reform'

U.S. House Votes to Extend FISA 702 Surveillance 'Reform'

Apr 12, 2024

U.S. House Votes to Extend FISA 702 Surveillance 'Reform'

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a two-year extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA 702), a measure known for allowing warrantless surveillance, particularly targeting individuals outside the United States. The bill now moves to the Senate before the looming April 19 deadline when the current authorization is set to expire.

The extension was passed after a contentious and narrowly split vote, with the amendment to require the government to obtain a warrant for searching Section 702 data for Americans' communications failing in a tie of 212-212. Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, expressed concern over the outcome, stating, "The amendment to require the gov’t to obtain a warrant to search Section 702 data for Americans’ communications failed by an achingly close vote of 212-212, following some truly shameless misrepresentations about the amendment from @MikeTurnerOH, the White House, & others."

The bill has been met with criticism for lacking substantial reforms and even expanding the scope of surveillance. Amendments passed alongside the extension could further infringe on privacy rights. The bill has been described as a "disgraceful bill" by Goitein, who urged the Senate to reject it.

One of the most contentious aspects of the debate was a failed amendment co-sponsored by GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, which would have required the FBI to get a search warrant before accessing foreign intelligence data for references to U.S. citizens. The Biden administration, along with Republican national security hawks, opposed the amendment, suggesting it would weaken the surveillance capabilities provided by Section 702.

The White House has communicated its support for the reauthorization, with National Security communications adviser John Kirby stating, "We strongly support the bipartisan effort here to get … 702 reauthorized and we even support – not all – but we support a lot of the reforms that are being considered."

Section 702 has been criticized for its use as a domestic spying tool, with reports of warrantless searches impacting a wide range of individuals, including Black Lives Matter protesters and members of Congress.

The Senate is now tasked with reviewing the bill, with the possibility of additional debate and amendments. The outcome in the Senate will determine the future of FISA 702 and the broader implications for privacy and surveillance in the United States.

BCJ One-Pager

No BS Bitcoin Article

CNN Article


Current Block Height

Current Mempool Size

Current Difficulty