U.S. to Ask Court to Reauthorize Disputed Surveillance Program for a Year

As Congress stalls in considering an expiring warrantless surveillance law known as Section 702, the Biden administration has decided not to risk a lapse.

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U.S. to Ask Court to Reauthorize Disputed Surveillance Program for a Year | INFBusiness.com

The law allows the government to collect communications of intelligence targets without individualized warrants.

The Biden administration is moving to extend a disputed warrantless surveillance program into April 2025, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The decision by the administration, which requires asking for court approval, seemed likely to roil an already turbulent debate in Congress over its fate. The program has scrambled the usual partisan lines, with members of both parties on each side of seeing the program as potentially abusive of civil liberties or as necessary for protecting national security.

The law that undergirds the program, Section 702, authorizes the government to collect the communications of foreigners abroad who have been targeted for intelligence purposes — even when those targets are talking with or about Americans. The National Security Agency gathers the information from American companies like Google and AT&T, and without individualized warrants.

Enacted in 2008, the law legalized a form of the once-secret Stellarwind program, which the Bush administration created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The government has said it uses the law to gather foreign intelligence, including information about spies, hackers and terrorists.

The law had been set to expire in December, but Congress voted to extend it until April 19 to give itself more time to debate proposed changes. Lawmakers have yet to reach a consensus, and this month, a plan to hold a floor vote on the matter collapsed in the Republican-controlled House before a two-week recess.

The legislative paralysis has brought the calendar to the moment when the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence each year normally ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to extend the program.

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Source: nytimes.com

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