House renews controversial surveillance bill

The House voted to renew a national security program that allows spy agencies to collect intelligence on foreign targets abroad, but an amendment that would have put more restrictions on data collection was voted down Thursday morning.

The program, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows U.S. spy agencies to collect information on foreign targets outside the United States.

It was renewed by a 256-164 vote, and the matter is now heading to the Senate, where Sen. Rand Paul announced he will filibuster because of a lack of protections for citizens.

Americans’ communications are inadvertently swept up in the process, and privacy advocates and some lawmakers wanted to require the FBI to get a warrant if it wants to query and view the content of Americans’ communications that are in the database to build domestic crime cases.

Before the vote, President Donald Trump sent conflicting tweets on his support for the bill — suggesting it may have resulted in spying at Trump Tower during the 2016 election — though he ultimately backed its renewal.

“This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land,” Trump said in a morning tweet. “We need it! Get smart!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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