Paul Ryan: FISA Is About Keeping Americans Safe

President Donald Trump prompted confusion before the vote with a tweet claiming the programme had been used to "abuse" his campaign.

President Donald Trump on Thursday attacked his own administration's position on renewing Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act - and it's all because of something he saw on "Fox & Friends".

Critics argue that the 702 program vacuums up the information of millions of US citizens who communicate with those individuals, and that the USA government should not be allowed to specifically search for that US person information or use it against Americans in court without a warrant.

The Senate must still vote on the matter although as The New York Times highlights, fewer lawmakers there seem to favor changes to spying laws.

Trump contradicted the White House official statement earlier in the day with a Twitter post criticizing the surveillance law.

"'House votes on controversial FISA ACT today, '" Trump wrote headline.

But an hour-and-a-half-later, Trump tweeted his support, saying, it "is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

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He later reversed course, after reports that he spoke to House Speaker Paul Ryan, and tweeted support of the bill, telling lawmakers to "Get smart!" "The government stores those messages in several databases that - because of a loophole - can then be searched and read by government agents who do not first obtain a warrant, even when those communications are written by Americans".

"We think that is unconstitutional, hugely problematic, and we're here to defend the rights of the American people", said Michigan Rep. Justin Amash.

It is routine practice for the FBI to run searches through data collected pursuant to Section 702 even during the preliminary stages of an investigation, according to the article by Sharon Bradford Franklin, a senior fellow at New America's Open Technology Institute.

With the 256 to 164 vote, the much-heated debate regarding surveillance that enshrined in the year 2013 will come to an end. "The Administration urges the House to reject this amendment and preserve the useful role FISA's Section 702 authority plays in protecting American lives", the White House said.

"No president should have this power". Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Both Republicans and Democrats have pushed back against linking the controversy over unmasking to the FISA programme the House is seeking to extend. NPR takes a closer look at what Trump was talking about in his tweets, determining the president's "comments throw together a rat's nest of related, semi-related, and unrelated strands".

  • Adam Floyd