U.S. Senate leaders have been discussing plans to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) beyond the Dec. 31 deadline by amending legislation that must be passed this month.
A senior congressional aide told Wired that sources in both the leadership office and the Justice Department have revealed that discussions are underway to salvage Section 702 in the short term by attaching an amendment to an urgent need to expand federal funding and avoid in the act establishing the government. Closed after a week.
The program was last extended in 2018 and is expected to expire at the end of this year. Without a vote to reauthorize 702, the U.S. government would lose the ability to obtain a one-year “certification” from telecommunications companies to wiretap overseas calls, text messages and emails without receiving individual search warrants or subpoenas.
Regardless of whether the agency is reauthorized before it expires on Jan. 1, actual oversight will likely continue into the spring, when this year’s accreditation expires.
Expanding the program by attaching it to another bill that Congress cannot avoid is a dangerous political tactic that will cause serious uproar among most House lawmakers and some senators working to reform the 702 program. Hawks are limiting federal law enforcement’s ability to use “incidentally” collected data on Americans. 702 collects program communications from two sources: Internet service providers and the companies that communicate between them. The latter has a lower eavesdropping frequency, but intercepts a larger volume of domestic communications.
Aides to Jim Jordan, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Jordan is firmly on the side of reformers and will not support extending Section 702 through temporary measures. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did not respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.
“America’s security and civil rights require more than just short-term solutions. Congress has a full year to review and address this critical policy issue,” said James Cherney, senior policy analyst at the nonprofit Americans for Prosperity. Yavsky said. The short-term extension puts the ball in play on critical reforms that the program urgently needs to protect American civil liberties. “
While it is illegal and unconstitutional to monitor U.S. phones without a warrant based on probable cause, the government can minimize future access to those phones by following procedures for collecting domestic phone calls for specific national security purposes. Pentagon surveillance only allows eavesdropping on foreigners overseas. However, these foreigners, many of whom may be government officials rather than criminals or terrorists, often exchange phone calls and emails with people in the United States, which are collected as well.