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The Biden administration intends to request the reauthorization of a pivotal surveillance initiative, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is due to expire soon, as confirmed by a Justice Department (DOJ) official.

This program permits the US government to conduct warrantless surveillance on noncitizens abroad, a capability deemed crucial for intelligence gathering. The renewal request aims to prevent a potential lapse in intelligence collection, described by Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen as avoiding a “dangerous gap in collection.”

Olsen emphasized the program’s significance: “Section 702 of FISA is an indispensable national security tool, and we are committed to working closely with Congress to reauthorize it before it expires in April.” Despite the calls for reauthorization, the program has faced scrutiny for inadvertently capturing communications involving Americans, sparking calls for reform.

In recent months, House Republicans have attempted to reform and reauthorize the nation’s warrantless surveillance powers but have faced disagreements within their party on how to move forward. Recently, some members of the House presented a proposal that aligns with the House Intelligence Committee proposal but still lacked a warrant requirement that privacy advocates were seeking.


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