House Passes Legislation Renewing Controversial NSA Surveillance Program

Update 3: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been renewed by the House of Representatives. Originally enacted in 1978, the act outlines the lawful procedure for collecting foreign intelligence. FISA Section 702 allows the US government to pull in communications from foreign nationals but does not permit surveillance of US citizens, even if they are suspected of criminality or terrorism. Ahead of a vote to extend FISA for six years, US President Donald

Trump initially hit out at the key intelligence provision, although later updated his stance through a tweet declaring that the country needs FISA.

As Glenn Greenwald notes, this is the list of House Democrats who stood with Trump, Devin Nunes and the NSA to ensure ongoing warrantless eavesdropping on Americans, adding "Note how many of the leading #Resistance leaders are on this list."


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Update 2: Despite having the support of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the so-called Amash amendment - also known as the USA Rights Act - has been rejected by the House.



The chamber will now debate whether to pass the bill as is, which already includes a few small tweaks that marginally strengthen surveillance safeguards.

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Update 1: As the House prepares to reauthorize FISA, Axios reports that Republicans were caught by surprise Thursday morning when the president unexpectedly blasted the FISA act, claiming it helped the Obama administration "surveil and abuse" the Trump campaign.

One source close to the GOP leadership said "I have decided that the only way to stay sane in Trump's Washington is to ignore everything he says."

* * *

As the House prepares to vote Thursday on a measure to extend a package of controversial FISA protections that have been opposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, President Donald Trump ripped the law in a tweet early Thursday: "'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today." This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?"



...Though he quickly clarified that he was taking steps to reform the unmasking process and that the provision coming to a vote on Thursday  pertained primarily to foreign surveillance.



The final vote on the provision is expected around 11:45 am, according to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

As the Hill explains, the House is set to vote Thursday on renewing what's known as Section 702 of FISA - a law that allows the National Security Agency to collect texts and emails of foreigners abroad without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the US.

Trump’s suspicion of the law stems from Obama-era National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s decision to “unmask” several Trump campaign associates, a decision that may have played a role in the FBI’s decision to launch the Russia investigation.

Some Republicans have speculated that the Obama administration learned of former national security advisor Michael Flynn's calls with Russia's ambassador to the US through Section 702.

The legislation to be considered by the House includes some small changes meant to appeal to critics of the law. It would require the FBI to obtain a court order before reviewing the content of queries for Americans’ information in the database - though an order would not be required to search the database in the first place - and allow such an order only when investigators want to use the information in a criminal case.

A number of lawmakers do not think that goes far enough, however, an a bipartisan amendment, backed by Rep. Justin Amash, imposing restrictions designed to protect Americans who are swept up in government spying on foreigners overseas will also get a vote. The amendment is known as the USA Rights Act.

Amash's language would require investigators to obtain a warrant in order to search the 702 database for Americans’ information in criminal cases.

Officially, the White House rejected proposed amendments that would roll back some of the intelligence-sharing provisions of the FISA Act, and instead asked lawmakers to extend and preserve the provision as is.



As the Hill explains, Trump's White House has been aggressively lobbying for months for a clean, permanent renewal of the 702 authority, which the intelligence community maintains is critical to identifying and disrupting terror plots.

However, while the bill - with the few minor tweaks mentioned above - will likely pass the House, it faces strenuous bipartisan opposition in the Senate.

As the Washington Examiner reports, Sen. Rand Paul is preparing to filibuster the bill in the Senate to try and force a provision that would require the FBI to obtain a warrant to examine data gleaned from incidental surveillance of Americans.

"My worry is that they also collect information on millions of Americans, and I don’t want that database to be searched without a warrant," Paul said.

"I will filibuster and do whatever to stop that," he added.

Section 702 permits the intelligence community to oversee foreign communications and will expire on Jan. 19. But those who oppose the program claim it permits warrantless collection of private information from U.S. citizens.




Mr. Universe Government nee… Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:37 Permalink

Come on, no one from the government wants to spy on it's own citizens. You guys are just paranoid. Gotta run now down to Best buy and pick up my new Google Portal device. It's got a wide angle camera, microphones, facial recognition and moar, just remember...

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

In reply to by Government nee…

NoDebt Mr. Universe Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

Hey, wait one fucking minute here.  This reminds me of something.

Didn't Obama (illegally) abolish the work requirement for Welfare recipients by EO his first year in office?

What the fuck's up with that old issue now?  What can be done by EO can be undone by EO (except if you listen to the nutbags in the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals).

Why not reinstitute the work requirement on Welfare by EO?  Wouldn't even need to pass a law to do it, either.


In reply to by Mr. Universe

a Smudge by an… Muddy1 Thu, 01/11/2018 - 13:08 Permalink

You are perhaps aware that legislation is passed in a massive favor-trading process that has one side making concessions to gain same from the other. So yeah you find health care stuff jammed into spy cases as deals are pulled together. They are basically bargaining your life away in the process. They say "it's how it works". And it does work. For them.

In reply to by Muddy1

Planet ZOG earleflorida Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

Compare Verma to this hero:…

"Blogger, 53, who 'mocked Anne Frank and Holocaust survivors' in songs she uploaded to the web sang along as her ‘grossly offensive’ music was played during the first day of her racism trail.

Chabloz, of Charlesworth, Derbyshire, posted a video to a YouTube video of her singing and playing the guitar to a song she wrote entitled (((survivor))).

In the provocative song, she mocks prominent Jewish figures, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, as well as Anne and Otto Frank, to the tune of a traditional Jewish song.

Chabloz appeared to sing the song as she appeared in court when the video was shown at Westminster Magistrates Court, with her supporters in the public gallery laughing and singing along."

In reply to by earleflorida

Ms No CunnyFunt Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:50 Permalink

Who the hell is that?  She looks like a Arab-Indian-Jew?  Do they have those Cryptos now?  She looks like that woman that just got bitch slapped trying to give Jerusalem exclusively to Jews over the interest of Christianity and Islam.  Good luck ever finding a crypto Indian.   

In reply to by CunnyFunt

Akzed Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:28 Permalink

Constitutional govt would eliminate the need constantly to repair the ongoing damage caused by unconstitutional govt. It’s like, axiomatic.

jtmo3 Akzed Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:46 Permalink

We have a constitutional .gov, the problem is they ignore it, with the help of judiciary and the media. Key players have been placed in key positions in these institutions over a number of years. Short of a massive revolt, it's only going to get worse. If you're like me and talk to people you know about this once in a while, you either get agreement, and that's as far as it goes, or you get the you're off your rocker look.


Some people know what's going on but have no where to turn to stop it. You can't be the "lone gunman" because that's worthless. Most people have wives and kids or something else in their life to worry about and have little time for "revolt".


It's kind of a stuck situation for most.

In reply to by Akzed

GunnerySgtHartman Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:29 Permalink

No surprise here.  When did government ever voluntarily give up any power it has?

About the Medicaid work requirement, God forbid that we should expect people to actually do something for their benefits.

To Hell In A H… Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:30 Permalink

What a surprise. I'm seriously shocked Trump is not tweeting about this. Oh wait, Orange Jesus wants these powers. I thought he believes in small, non-intrusive government. Or was that just campaign trail spiel? lol

Lets face facts guys, the plebs are too dumb to enact change. 

Consuelo Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:31 Permalink



- Government out of anything related to 'health-care'

- Let the chips (and the system itself) fall where they may - or implode, both.

- When the dust clears and the wages, overcharges and graft fall off a cliff and land at a level in which the competitive marketplace can engage, we can start anew, with the doctor/patient relationship restored.

any_mouse Consuelo Thu, 01/11/2018 - 13:11 Permalink

Government out of most everything. Especially Social Reform.

One small step for Women, one giant fail for American workers and American Mothers.

With one act of Congress, the Labor pool was doubled, thereby discounting the value of Labor,  giving a massive benefit to Corporations paying less for the same amount of work.

With a "side" benefit of devaluing a Mother's role in the family.

In reply to by Consuelo

LawsofPhysics Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:34 Permalink

Showing their true colors again?

action/reaction, the laws of Nature and physics will eventually have their say.

Get long sharecropping and guillotines.

In the meantime...

"Full Faith and Credit"

any_mouse FreeShitter Thu, 01/11/2018 - 13:21 Permalink

Blockchain Executions.

Here's an idea. Issue birth certificates on a Government Blockchain. Go to school, on the B-chain. Vaccinated, on the B-chain. Get paid for work, it's on the B-chain. Act out of line, it's on the B-chain. You will have a RFID wallet implanted.  With secure backup in Utah.

You will be "secured" from birth to death on the B-chain. It's for your own good.

Anyone see it coming?

In reply to by FreeShitter

wmbz Thu, 01/11/2018 - 11:37 Permalink

"President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs"

LBJ another turd that helped set this country on it's merry way toward socialism.