April 22, 2024 in News by RBN Staff

source:  blacklistednews

Published: April 22, 2024


President Joe Biden on Saturday signed the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act hours after its passage in the Senate, renewing a controversial but reformed warrantless surveillance law.

Biden swiftly signed the measure into law after the Senate approved it in an early-morning session.

Despite misgivings from both sides of the aisle, the Senate reauthorized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s warrantless surveillance of foreigners located outside the United States.

The chamber voted 60-34 to approve House Resolution 7888 shortly the existing FISA authorization expired and following several hours of debate on the Senate floor.

The resolution, called the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act, renews FISA’s Section 702 after reforming it to protect U.S. citizens against unconstitutional invasions of privacy by the federal government in response to critics concerned about past privacy abuses.

Its passage ensures “our security professionals can continue to rely on Section 702 to detect grave national security threats and use that understanding to protect the United States,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Saturday.

The act “will retain essential authority to understand and protect against a wide range of dangerous threats to Americans while enhancing safeguards for privacy and civil liberties through the most robust set of reforms ever included in legislation to reauthorize Section 702,” Sullivan added.

The resolution had bipartisan support with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urging support for its passage to protect national security.

Opponents said the FISA law previously led to abuse of U.S. citizens’ privacy rights through federal surveillance that gathered internet and cell phone data on foreign individuals and entities that U.S. citizens might contact for legitimate reasons.

Addressing the concerns, the resolution includes “important reforms” that “ensure the protection of Americans’ privacy and civil liberties,” Attorney Gen. Merrick Garland said in a statement Saturday.

“This reauthorization of Section 702 gives the United States the authority to continue to collect foreign intelligence information about non-U.S. persons located outside the United States,” Garland said.

“In today’s heightened global threat environment, the Justice Department will continue to use Section 702 to ensure that our efforts to keep our country safe are informed by the most valuable and timely intelligence,” he added.