House reauthorizes FISA courts
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/12/20, 10:52 am
WASHINGTON—Federal law enforcement will keep its ability to conduct secret surveillance for national security purposes, but Congress will have more oversight of the process under a bill the House passed on Wednesday. Lawmakers voted 278-136 to reauthorize and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court process. The bill enhances penalties for those who abuse FISA courts for political reasons. It also requires the attorney general to personally approve requests to monitor government officials.
What was at risk of expiring? Three surveillance provisions needed renewal. They allow the FBI to collect business records on the subjects of national security investigations, to wiretap them even if they have changed phones, and to monitor terrorism suspects even if they are not affiliated with an overseas organization. The bill heads to the Senate next.
Dig deeper: Listen to this segment on The World and Everything In It for an explanation on the debate over FISA reauthorization.
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