Sen. Rand Paul on FISA: Bill of Rights Worth a Filibuster

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma listen at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. The Trump adm

Congress May Vote This Week to Expand Surveillance Under Section 702 of FISA

The FISA act specifically prohibits the targeting of American citizens or anyone residing in the USA, but privacy advocates inside and outside Congress insist it sweeps up the electronic data of innocent Americans who may be communicating with foreign nationals, even when those foreigners aren't suspected of terrorist activity. If the American has communicated with foreigners who were previously under government surveillance, that communication would be available to United States intelligence or law enforcement agencies.

"It is well-known that he has concerns about the domestic FISA law". The legislation now goes to the Senate, which will take it up at a later time, and faces opposition by Sen.

The bill still has to pass the upper chamber of Congress, where Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden are staunchly opposed.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Trump's tweets were "inaccurate, conflicting and confusing statements" and Schiff unsuccessfully suggested that a vote on the bill should be delayed until the White House's position can be ascertained.

President Trump sent mixed signals about a controversial surveillance law in a pair of Thursday-morning tweets, just hours before the House of Representatives voted to extend the provision.

As the tweet buzzed in notifications from Capitol Hill to the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Trump's advisers hurried to draft a follow-up that might help preserve the administration's position in support of the act's reauthorization.

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The CNN host explained that the White House, earlier this week, was onboard with reauthorizing FISA, saying the bill is necessary to "collect critical intelligence on terrorist organizations, weapons proliferators, and other foreign adversaries that is vital to keeping the nation safe".

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to extend by six years a key spying program allowing the government to collect communications concerning foreign intelligence targets without a warrant.

He said that "today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

"We need it! Get smart!" he demands.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters there was no contradiction in Trump's tweets on the surveillance program and that he was voicing broader concerns about FISA.

The issue centered on a law called Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

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NY magazine's Jonathan Chait in response wrote, "Confused Trump Tricked by Fox News Into Opposing His Own Surveillance Bill".

Already, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including 100 House Democrats and 100 House Republicans, have joined Paul's fight to amend the section, the authority of which was extended when the short-term spending bill passed in December.

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the Trump dossier is the question of whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation used unverified material from the dossier - a Clinton campaign opposition research product - to apply for permission to spy on Americans.

Backers of the Amash-Lofgren amendment said they wanted to restore the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches.

However, when "millions of Americans are incidentally collected in the database, we don't want people willy-nilly looking into this database without a warrant", said Paul.

"We call on Congress to protect Americans" 4th Amendment rights", said Computer & Communications Industry Association President Ed Black.

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Lawmakers had begun the day readying for two votes related to the program that intelligence officials call the "holy grail" because it provides insight into the thinking and actions of USA adversaries.

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