House votes to renew surveillance law that collects Americans' emails without warrants


"This so-called "reform" bill was written by the intelligence community, for the intelligence community, which is why it fails to accomplish any meaningful reform to Section 702 or ensure our constitutional right to privacy", Rep. Jerrold Nadler, N.Y., said in a statement.

Almost two hours after his first tweet, Trump backtracked.

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., blasted Trump's earlier tweet as "truly fantastic", highlighting the disconnect with his own White House team.

The House faces a crucial choice Thursday over how to extend a program that is credited with disrupting terrorist plots but also has taken a toll on Americans' privacy. "By failing to close the backdoor search loophole in this bill, which exposes millions of innocent Americans to warrantless government surveillance, members of Congress have ceded incredible domestic spying powers to the executive branch", the organization said in a statement.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was originally signed into law in 1978 as a way to provide oversight of the government's surveillance programs while still allowing intelligence agencies the secrecy required to be effective.

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Mr. Trump, who is known to watch Fox News while he is tweeting, posted his tweet shortly after a Fox News legal analyst appealed directly to the president during a Thursday morning segment about the coming House vote.

Congress moved Thursday toward renewing a critical intelligence program despite a morning of confusion prompted by President Donald Trump's tweets, in which he appeared to support significant changes that his administration had worked for months to rebuff. "And I will do everything I can to fight to make sure that it does not pass, unless we get our reforms attached to the bill".

Before approving the extension of the law, the House voted 233 to 183 to reject an amendment that proposed a series of overhauls.

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

It was created to spy on foreign citizens living outside the U.S. and specifically bars the targeting of American citizens or anyone residing in the U.S. But critics say the program also 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. That bill, by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., would restrict the use of data collected under Section 702 in some criminal prosecutions of USA citizens.

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The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday to renew U.S. spy powers first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. Such collection contains a reference to a target, such as an email address, in the body of a communication rather than in the "to" or "from" line.

Axios's Jonathan Swan reported that Hill Republicans began speculating about who might have "got to" Trump and encouraged the tweet.

But top Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees were quick to leap on the first tweet as "irresponsible" and "untrue". Most famously, it established a secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to vet wiretaps and other monitoring of foreign agents within the United States.

The group is pushing back against legislation passed by the House Intelligence Committee that would require a warrant only if the information the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtains is to be used in a criminal proceeding - a bar that Amash, Lofgren and Nadler say is so low that it is meaningless.

Section 702 has been useful in detecting and disrupting terrorist plots.

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