Congress to vote on surveillance bill

WASHINGTON (NEWS10) – This week Congress is getting ready to vote to reauthorize FISA 702.

It’s the foreign intelligence surveillance act that was approved as a result of 9/11 designed to help prevent terrorism.

The foreign intelligence surveillance act allows intelligence agencies to spy on suspected foreign terrorists.

Some lawmakers are concerned the agencies are spying on Americans by gathering and saving our electronic communications.

“It is vast amounts of information, content, phone calls, images, videos, emails,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California-19th) said.

“FISA stands for the foreign intelligence surveillance act and I would submit that if we don’t put the F back in FISA it becomes ISA and Americans should know that the eyes are on them,” Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Virginia-5th) said.

A growing group of lawmakers says before they will vote to reauthorize FISA 702 – the law must be reformed.

The USA Rights Act would allow the government to continue surveillance for foreign intelligence but would require a warrant before looking at communications by Americans.

Senators Ron Wyden and Rand Paul agree the reforms are necessary.

“It is possible for the American people to have policies that promote both security and liberty, we understand that those two are not mutually exclusive,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said.

“The Bill of Rights requires that information be gathered under the 4th amendment with probable cause, and naming the person, naming the papers,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said.

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, says reforms to FISA aren’t necessary.

“Section 702 is a critical tool that the intelligence community uses properly to target a non-U.S. person outside of the united states that is vital to US security,” Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania-8th) said.

Opponents of FISA reform say changing the rules would give more rights to terrorists and criminals.

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