Paul calls for filibuster of surveillance bill

Frederick Owens
January 12, 2018

In a tweet, he linked the FISA program that his White House supports to the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation, catching aides and Capitol Hill officials off guard.

Senate leaders are planning to send to the president's desk next week a bill to reauthorize the government's authority to conduct foreign surveillance on USA soil, despite opposition from privacy advocates and mixed messages from President Donald Trump himself, who questioned his administration's support for the program Thursday morning.

Section 702 allows the NSA to collect electronic communications without a warrant from non-US citizens located outside the US.

Trump attempted to walk back his tweet about 90 minutes later, urging lawmakers in a second tweet to reauthorize the program.

Rights advocates, however, have taken aim at what they say are unconstitutional measures within the legislation, namely section 702, that allows intelligence agencies to sweep up Americans' communications.

Efforts by Democrats and some conservative and libertarian Republicans to ensure that the agencies be required to get specific warrants for exploiting United States citizens' data acquired through so-called "incidental collection" failed to gain support. During the meeting, Trump said he would agree to sign a stand-alone bill extending legal protections to so-called Dreamers, 700,000 immigrants who came to the US illegally as children.

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It was a striking contradiction between Trump's dueling identities as a man, often guided by impulses, grievances and what he sees on television, and Trump the president, responsible for taking a broader view of government and security issues. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he intends to block any such legislation in the Senate.

A tweet from President Trump sparked confusion Thursday on Capitol Hill ahead of a vote to renew the federal surveillance program known as FISA. The Republicans said the vote should be held. Thursday, he managed to throw the entire House Republican caucus into an uproar by reverting back to being an elderly shut-in getting angry while watching Fox News. "No president should have this power", American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel Neema Singh Guliani said in a statement after the House's vote, calling on the Senate to "reject this bill". If the suspect was an American citizen, the DOJ had to get a court order within three days after the government began spying on him.

"The House-passed bill does absolutely nothing to defend the vast majority of law-abiding Americans from warrantless searches", said Senator Wyden, of Oregon. Trump cast doubt on the approach Friday night at Camp David, hours before White House adviser Gary Cohn gave a presentation emphasizing public-private partnerships as the primary funding mechanism for infrastructure overhaul, according to The Washington Post.

President Donald Trump appeared to muddy the House debate when he tweeted early Thursday that the "House votes on the controversial FISA ACT", and mused that the surveillance law could have been used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016. Trump criticized the program and suggested it played a role in the surveillance of officials on his presidential campaign after the point was made on "Fox and Friends". "Our bill makes clear that Americans need and deserve both security and protection of their privacy", Lee and Leahy said in their statement.

For the record, Trump's administration supports full reauthorization. That angered Trump and the previous Republican critics of Section 702, who complained that political leaders shouldn't use official reporting to take partisan shots in the press.

How do I know if my emails or texts have been collected or searched under this law?

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