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President Biden has officially signed a bill extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) warrantless surveillance program for another two years.

The reauthorization, termed the “Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act,” was passed after intense discussions in the Senate, which voted 60-34 to send the bill to the President’s desk. This action came shortly after the midnight deadline, narrowly avoiding the expiration of a critical national intelligence gathering tool.

President Joe Biden Signs Into Law S. 3522, The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend Lease Act Of 2022, As Vice President Kamala Harris Looks On In The Oval Office Of The White House In Washington On Monday, May 9, 2022. (cheriss May/the New York Times)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a significant breakthrough on the Senate floor, which prevented the program from lapsing. This legislation not only continues the government’s capacity to monitor foreigners abroad but also inadvertently captures communications involving Americans. Despite falling short of more stringent privacy protections advocated by some, the bill introduces several reforms aimed at enhancing the oversight and accountability of surveillance activities.

In a statement from the White House, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan praised the passage of the bill. He said, “The Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act will retain essential authority to understand and protect against a wide range of dangerous threats to Americans while enhancing safeguards for privacy and civil liberties through the most robust set of reforms ever included in legislation to reauthorize Section 702.”

The bill’s passage in the House followed a failed procedural vote by a faction of GOP members, underscoring the contentious nature of the surveillance program’s extension.


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