Republicans Split on the Spy State

The spy state has attacked Donald Trump but some Republicans don’t want to limit its power.

The spy state surveilled Donald Trump and his associates, during the campaign and after, at the behest of the Obama Administration. Nevertheless, some Republicans cannot take away even a small bit of power from our spy state. I don’t know if these Republicans support the spy state despite what they did to Trump or because of what they did.

The Washington Post reports, “Factions forming as Congress attempts to curb U.S. spy power.

Schisms are brewing on Capitol Hill over a new bipartisan effort to limit the authority and extend the timeline of the National Security Agency’s ability to monitor the communications of suspected foreign agents abroad, as key members refuse to endorse the proposal.

The NSA data collection program under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has long inspired divisions between privacy advocates and national security hawks, over where and how collected data will be disseminated and used by various government agencies. But as lawmakers look toward a looming, end-of-year deadline to reauthorize the program, both privacy champions and advocates for the intelligence community are finding fault in the new House Judiciary Committee proposal. It requires the FBI to seek a warrant before asking to view Americans’ emails and phone call records collected under Section 702 authority, relevant to criminal cases.

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The disagreement is narrow, but critical to a Section 702 extension, which the intelligence community has identified as its top legislative priority for 2017.

In the House Judiciary Committee’s bill, searches of the NSA database are unlimited in national security cases. But if the FBI wants to query the database for the communications of a U.S. person related to a criminal case, it must first seek a warrant before it can review the results.

The provision is inspired by concerns that with no restrictions on law enforcement officials’ access to Americans’ information in such a database, the FBI could exploit its contents to aid money-laundering investigations, tax fraud, murders, or other federal crimes without an explicit national security bent.

Read the full Washington Post story.

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