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Al Franken said we have 'no estimate how many Americans have been spied on'


UPDATE 11:57 a.m. EST:

Matthew G. Olsen, president of business development and strategy for IronNet Cybersecurity, said it would be unwise to impose a court order requirement on the Section 702 provision that would require the FBI to get a warrant from the judicial court in order to conduct a search.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m. EST:

Bradley Booker, acting general counsel for the Office Of The Director Of National Intelligence, acknowledged that the agency does not have estimates on the number of Americans who have been spied upon.

"However, we report a lot of information to this committee in the classified form and public form," Booker said.

UPDATE 11:05 a.m. EST:

"Despite bipartisan support for it, we still have no estimate how many Americans have been spied on," Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said.

A committee member interjected and said the reason is because the panel is prohibited from gathering information on Americans being spied on domestically without a court order.

UPDATE 10:49 a.m. EST:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked the panel if someone in the Trump administration has the legal right to monitor his conversations with a foreign leader.

"Is it legal or not?" Graham asked.

Some think Americans should be entitled to ask that question too.

UPDATE 10:23 a.m. EST:

Paul E. Morris, Mr. Paul F. Morris deputy general counsel for operations National Security Agency said that the NSA opposes a statutory bill.

UPDATE 10:13 a.m. EST:

Carl Ghattas, executive assistant director of the FBI's National Security Branch, said Section 702 is a critical investigative tool for the FBI.

UPDATE 9:48 a.m. EST:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that she fully supports the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. She believes it is a vital counterterrorism tool that allows members to review and revise the act.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Senate Judiciary Committee is meeting Tuesday to discuss the "FISA Amendments Act: Reauthorizing America's Vital National Security Authority and Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties." The government is required to go to FISA court every year. The Committee will meet in the Senate building. The lawmakers that will be on the two panels include Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Sen.Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The FBI normally is forbidden from surveilling an American without a warrant. However, in 2008, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was updated by Congress. The provision allowed the NSA to share with the agency spy data collected without a warrant.

Circa reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.
The committee is also conducting its own investigation into possible collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, which allegedly meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

The FISA hearing's play a vital role in discussing American's right to privacy. The FBI normally is forbidden from surveilling an American without a warrant. But Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Act, last updated by Congress in 2008, allowed the NSA to share with the FBI spy data collected without a warrant that includes the communications of Americans with “foreign targets.”

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