The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote this week on a bill that would alter a surveillance program by requiring a warrant to obtain information on American citizens, Politico reported Monday.
The bill, which has bipartisan support, would fundamentally change Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by adding new protections for constitutional rights of Americans. Currently, FISA 702 targets foreigners abroad but it also obtains phone calls, texts, and emails of U.S. citizens that gets stored and can get searched without a warrant.
Judiciary's bill would require a warrant to search Americans, with exceptions built in.
Regardless, FBI Director Christopher Wray pleaded with lawmakers last month to reauthorize Section 702 as is, warning against watering it down. The 702 provision will expire Dec. 31 unless Congress takes action to reauthorize it.
"A warrant requirement would amount to a de facto ban, because query applications either would not meet the legal standard to win court approval or because, when the standard could be met, it would be so only after the expenditure of scarce resources, the submission and review of a lengthy legal filing, and the passage of significant time — which, in the world of rapidly evolving threats, the government often does not have," Wray said in opening remarks before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence hearing.
Judiciary is expected to move Wednesday with a vote, according to Politico. Congressional leaders have also attached an extension to a defense policy spending bill to delay acting on 702 until Feb. 2, 2024, but that could get stripped out, Politico reported.
Judiciary's bill targets broader protections than a similar bill percolating in the House Intelligence Committee, which would require warrants in crime searches, according to Politico.
Mark Swanson ✉
Mark Swanson, a Newsmax writer and editor, has nearly three decades of experience covering news, culture and politics.
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