House headed for cliffhanger vote on NSA surveillance


The House is voting Thursday on possible changes, and the Senate must also act. If the legislation passes in its current form, the Senate is expected to quickly take it up before the law authorizing the program expires on January 19. In a tweet, he linked the FISA program that his White House supports to the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation, catching aides and Capitol Hill officials off guard.

"The bill's language risks being read as a codification and expansion of certain illegal government practices such as collecting communications that are not to or from a surveillance target, including domestic communications", the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a statement Friday, calling on Congress to abandon efforts to pass the legislation.

"I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land", the president wrote around 9:15 a.m.

The criticism was all the more remarkable, because a day earlier, the White House had publicly announced support for the bill.

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted against an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that would've made it harder for agencies to access information linked to Americans.

"This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?" "We need it! Get smart!", he posted.

"In light of the irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today, I would recommend that we withdraw consideration of the bill", said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, in a House floor speech. "And we're supposed to make those decisions to keep our country safe". Opponents of the proposal, including House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said the proposed change would "disable" the 702 program.

Supporters of the bill were furious with the Presidential whiplash over FISA.

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Having the leader of the free world engage in daily stream-of-consciousness tweets based on low-bar cable television news chatter might seem like a good idea - it's like improvisational jazz, only with a higher probability of starting a nuclear war - but sometimes it causes problems.

"The way I understand the president's position is that he wants some of the reforms, that he thinks that we ought to have a warrant to look at this and that there's a possibility that people with bias in the intelligence community could use that bias to actually abuse the system", he said.

The tweet threw into doubt the carefully negotiated bipartisan legislation to extend Section 702 of the FISA law, which allows intelligence agencies to sweep up broad amounts of online communications in search of terrorism leads - critics say it amounts to nothing more than a warrantless search.

US intelligence officials insist the program is a vital source of intercepting warning signs of potential attacks and information on terror suspects. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday in an op-ed.

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Paul reiterated his concerns about American citizens being caught up in data collection. Americans' communications are inadvertently swept up in the process and privacy advocates and some lawmakers want to require the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.