NSA Surveillance Program Passes Senate

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The Senate approved a bill on Thursday extending the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for another six years. After an hour-long filibuster earlier this week, the Senate pushed the bill through in a 65–34 vote.

Pending President Donald Trump's expected approval on Friday, the law will grant the National Security Agency access to texts, email, and other communication surveillance without a warrant on foreigners visiting the United States.

The bill also includes the collection of information in correspondence between Americans and foreigners, leading to an unintentional "scoop" of Americans' information and messages in these exchanges without a warrant.

The bill passed through the House of Representatives last Thursday. That day, Trump tweeted, "This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others."

Trump tweeted again shortly after in support of the bill, saying the vote "is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land."

Multiple bills have amended the act, originally enacted in 1978, to establish "procedures for the authorization of electronic surveillance, use of pen registers and trap and trace devices, physical searches, and business records for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence."

Section 702 was passed in the wake of 9/11 under former President George W. Bush. The House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence believes it is "one of the most important legal authorities to stop terrorist attacks."

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