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US Senate Passes Controversial Domestic Surveillance Bill

20.04.2024 13:12

With a vote of 60 34, bill passed after midnight deadline, President Biden to 'swiftly' sign bill into law.

The US Senate early Saturday passed a bill to reauthorize federal spying powers on foreign targets for another two years.

With a vote of 60-34, the bill reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was approved after the midnight deadline.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan welcomed the passage of FISA, one of the US' "most vital intelligence collection tools."

"The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act will retain essential authority to understand and protect against a wide range of dangerous threats to Americans while enhancing safeguards for privacy and civil liberties through the most robust set of reforms ever included in legislation to reauthorize Section 702," Sullivan said in a statement.

He added that President Joe Biden will "swiftly" sign the bill into law.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said early Friday on the Senate floor that FISA is "very important" for the national security.

FISA, first passed in 1978, sets out procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and the collection of foreign intelligence information. It has been amended several times since then, including after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Section 702 allows the US government to collect electronic communications of non-Americans located outside the country without a warrant.

However, it sometimes results in the collection of data on Americans who are in contact with those surveilled individuals, making it controversial. -

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