by Nomaan Merchant and Eric Tucker for AP at Military.com
A top U.S. intelligence official on Thursday urged Congress to renew sweeping powers granted to American spy agencies to surveil and examine communications, saying they were critical to stopping terrorism, cyberattacks and other threats.
The remarks by Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency, opened what’s expected to be a contentious debate over provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that expire at year’s end. The bipartisan consensus in favor of expanded surveillance powers in the years after Sept. 11 has given way to increased skepticism, especially among some Republicans who believe spy agencies used those powers to undermine former President Donald Trump.
The new GOP majority in the U.S. House has already formed a panel on the “weaponization of the federal government.” And progressive Democrats have pushed for more curbs on warrantless surveillance.
The NSA and other spy agencies use authorities under FISA’s Section 702 to collect huge swaths of foreign communications, which also results in the incidental collection of emails and calls from Americans. The law prohibits spy agencies from targeting Americans and requires the FBI to seek a court order to access a U.S. citizen’s communications.
Section 702 was first added to FISA in 2008…Continue Reading