Saturday, March 4, 2017
Trump Wants NSA Program Reauthorized But Won’t Tell Congress How Many Americans It Spies On
At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, several members expressed frustration that intelligence chiefs — first under Obama, and now under Trump — have failed to provide any kind of estimate, even in classified briefings.
“The members of this committee and the public at large require that estimate to engage in a meaningful debate,” said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the leading Democrat on the committee. “We will not simply take the government’s word on the size of the so-called ‘incidental collection.’”
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which lapses at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect vast amounts of domestic internet traffic as long as it maintains it is only “targeting” foreigners. Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden described two huge surveillance programs that operate under that authority. One program, PRISM, allows the NSA to collect data in bulk from tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. The other program — Upstream — allows the NSA to tap the massive internet cables that carry information in and out of the U.S. and search for communications involving certain foreign “targets” or “selectors”.
White House supports renewal of spy law without reforms: official