Trump Signs Bill to Reauthorize Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act


Trump signs bill extending surveillance law — the same law he says was used to spy on him

The law renews for six years and with minimal changes the National Security Agency (NSA) programme, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.

The upper chamber reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by a vote of 65-34.

The White House, US intelligence agencies and congressional Republican leaders said the program is indispensable to national security.

The governing body approved the bill on Thursday, one week after it sailed through the House of Representatives.

Libertarian Republicans and liberal Democrats had pushed for it to be reformed following the global surveillance revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

US President Donald Trump on Friday reauthorized a controversial surveillance program that allows the federal government to intercept collect email and phone records of foreigners overseas without a warrant.

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"This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election", Trump said via Twitter.

There are no obvious links between the dossier Trump spoke of, which includes salacious but unsubstantiated allegations against him, and the reauthorization of the spying program, or between the program and Trump's oft-repeated claims that the Obama administration conducted surveillance on Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

Under Section 702, the NSA is empowered to eavesdrop on vast amounts of digital communications via American companies like Facebook Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google.

"The government will use this bill to continue warrantless intrusions into Americans' private emails, text messages, and other communications", Neema Singh Guliani, American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel, told "No president should have this power".

That caused people to wonder if he didn't support the program that allows US spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets overseas.

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