Tuesday May 21, 2024

US senate renews FISA surveillance bill, allowing government to spy

Donald Trump claims US government spied on his election campaign illegally

By Web Desk
April 20, 2024
Senate passes bill renewing key FISA surveillance power. — AFP/File
Senate passes bill renewing key FISA surveillance power. — AFP/File

United States Senate has reinstated the highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for two more years, The Hill reported.

The bill, which was passed by 60-34, has been sent to President Joe Biden who will have the final say.

The FISA bill is a powerful surveillance tool that the US government uses to sweep through communications, including phone calls and emails, of non-Americans anywhere outside of US territory. That includes communications from US citizens to foreigners.

Under the bill, the government and intelligence services do not require a judicial warrant to carry out electronic surveillance.

Former president Donald Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social, writing: "It was illegally used against me, and many others. They spied on my campaign!"

Several attempts were made by progressive and conservative senators who claimed that the spying powers were too broad and threatened the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrating the restoration said: "It wasn’t easy, people had many different views, but we all know one thing: letting FISA expire would have been dangerous. It's an important part of our national security to stop acts of terror, drug trafficking, and violent extremism."

"Thank you to all my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their good work in getting this done."