As recently as last night, the Trump administration was strongly in favor of legislation to renew one of the federal government’s most controversial spying powers. Known to insiders as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the law grants the government surveillance powers that are only supposed to be used on targets outside the United States.
Civil liberties groups say that the law can too easily be used to sweep up the private communications of Americans. And they’re backing legislation called the USA Rights Act to place new restrictions on the use of 702 spying powers—the House of Representatives was voting on that amendment as we published this story. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the issue today, and last night the White House put out a statement condemning USA Rights.
“This Amendment will re-establish the walls between intelligence and law enforcement that the country knocked down following the attacks of 9/11 in order to increase information sharing and improve our national security,” the White House argued.