The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections coming from privacy advocates along with confusion prompted by morning tweets coming from President Donald Trump of which initially questioned the spying tool.
The legislation, which passed 256-164 along with split party lines, can be the culmination of a years-long debate in Congress on the proper scope of U.S. intelligence collection — one fueled by the 2013 disclosures of classified surveillance secrets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Senior Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the program, yet Republicans forged ahead.
Trump initially said on Twitter of which the surveillance program, first created in secret after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks along with later legally authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, had been used against him yet later said the idea was needed.
Trump tweet phony dossier
Some conservative, libertarian-leaning Republicans along with liberal Democrats attempted to persuade colleagues to include more privacy protections. They failed on Thursday to pass an amendment to include a warrant requirement before the NSA or some other intelligence agencies could scrutinize communications belonging to Americans whose data can be incidentally collected.
Thursday’s vote was a major blow to privacy along with civil liberties advocates, who just two years ago celebrated passage of a law effectively ending the NSA’s bulk collection of U.S. call records, another top-secret program exposed by Snowden.
The bill as passed by the House could extend the NSA’s spying program for six years with minimal adjustments. Some privacy groups said the idea could actually expand the NSA’s surveillance powers.
Most lawmakers expect the idea to become law, although the idea still could require Senate approval along with Trump’s signature. Republican Senator Rand Paul along with Democratic Senator Ron Wyden immediately vowed to filibuster the measure yet the idea was unclear whether they could convince enough colleagues to force adjustments.
The White House, U.S. intelligence agencies along with Republican leaders in Congress have said they consider the surveillance program indispensable along with in need of little or no revision.
Before the vote a tweet coming from Trump had contradicted the official White House position along with renewed unsubstantiated allegations of which the previous administration of Barack Obama improperly surveilled his campaign during the 2016 election.
“This particular can be the act of which may have been used, with the help of the discredited along with phony Dossier, to so badly surveil along with abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration along with others?” the president said in a tweet.