Saturday, February 24, 2024

Crunch Time for Government Spying - The American Prospect

Time is running out for a bipartisan legislative push to curtail warrantless surveillance of American citizens through Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

After a vote was tabled last week following a theatrical warning by House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) about a national-security threat from Russia, reformers are pressuring House leadership to hold another vote on a compromise bill, plus amendments. The chances of that are growing more grim by the day.

Once Congress returns to session next week, it will be pushing up against a government funding deadline that appears increasingly likely to turn into a full government shutdown. That will likely eclipse any momentum behind a compromise reform of Section 702, and could lead to a situation where a clean reauthorization gets tucked into future must-pass legislation, a common tactic employed by national-security hawks.

There’s another scenario where Congress fails to reauthorize Section 702 by the April deadline and allows it to sunset, which could invert the political dynamic and increase pressure to agree to a floor vote.


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