The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to renew a controversial surveillance program for six years despite concerns from some Republican lawmakers and civil liberties advocates.
The bill to renew section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will now go to President Trump's desk for signing. The House passed the bill last week.
Senators voted 65-34 to approve the bill, which renews a section of surveillance law that allows intelligence agencies to spy on foreign nationals in order to prevent terrorists attacks.
However, when a U.S. citizen communicates with a foreign national, those conversations can be swept up in the data collection process, giving the government access to their emails, calls, texts and photos.
The bill drew criticism from civil liberties advocates on both sides of the aisle, who said the program should not be renewed without including language that would require intelligence agencies to get a warrant before searching an American's data.
The Senate passed a flawed bill that encroaches on Americans’ privacy. Montanans should be able to talk on the phone and send messages to their friends and loved ones without fearing the gov will collect data on their private conversations #GetAWarrant https://t.co/mu0ZMUuEoI— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) January 18, 2018
Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), who introduced legislation to reform the program, attempted to filibuster the bill on Tuesday, but were ultimately outvoted by their colleagues.
GOP leaders and security hawks praised the passage of the bill on Thursday.
The #Senate will vote today to reauthorize important provisions of the #FISA Amendments Act. As we all know, Section 702 remains one of the most important tools that our national security professionals use to combat terrorism and keep Americans safe.— Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) January 18, 2018
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