'Representative Justin Amash and a bipartisan coalition of 42 lawmakers failed to block a six-year extension of a controversial spying measure.
Washington D.C. – On Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a six-year extension of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a controversial law which allows the federal government to spy on American citizens. A bipartisan coalition of civil liberties advocates opposed the bill, but failed to stop the measure from passing with a vote of 256-164. Senator Rand Paul has now threatened a filibuster during the upcoming Senate vote.
The program has been extended several times since its inception. As 2017 came to a conclusion, lawmakers approved a short extension until January 19. The six-year extension was passed as part of a bill introduced by California Republican Devin Nunes. Nunes’ bill – The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 – allows the FBI and NSA to access Americans’ private communications without requiring a warrant first. Instead, the agencies only need notify the secret FISA court that it intends to access the data and communications of a suspect.
Amash introduced an amendment that would replace the text of Nunes’ bill with the USA RIGHTS Act, an alternative bill sponsored by Senators Rand Paul and Ron Wyden and Representatives Amash, Ted Poe, and Zoe Lofgren. The Amash amendment would have added a warrant requirement to Section 702. The amendment was overwhelmingly voted down with 183 votes against and 233 in favor. Nunes’ bill contains a provision which would require a court order (not a warrant), but only under the narrowest circumstances. A court order would only be necessary if FBI agents already have an open criminal investigation into the American whose data they want to access, and if there is found to be no valid national security concern.'
Read more: House Extends Controversial Surveillance Measure For Six Years Despite Bipartisan Resistance
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