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U.S. intelligence wants to make a key foreign surveillance law permanent

10 June, 2017, 17:42 | Author: Rickey Alvarado
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Intelligence officials have been promising Congress they would provide lawmakers with an estimate of the number of American communications that are collected under Section 702.

- "We have good reasons to be concerned about the impact of section 702 on the criminal justice system" Sarah St.Vincent writes in JustSecurity.org: "While this monitoring has considerable human rights implications for the foreigners who are targeted, it is likely that the dragnet is also capturing large numbers of USA persons" communications.

Director of national intelligence Dan Coats, NSA director Mike Rogers, acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, unified behind a legislative effort to ensure the government maintains its sunsetting foreign surveillance and data collection capabilities.

Coats claimed that that were "no instances of intentional violations of Section 702" since the 2008 amended law introduced the statute.

"I have no control of where hearings go, but I know that (Section) 702 re-authorization is an important issue, so that's where my focus is going to be and that's where everybody is programmed to talk about", Burr said.

"Section 702 should not become collateral damage in the unmasking debate", said Adam Klein of the Center for a New American Security.

Asked about incidental collection, Rogers said that "90% of the time" it happens when the NSA is "monitoring two foreign individuals, and those foreign entities talk about a U.S. person".

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After Coats said that he didn't want to publicly share private conversations - which is the comment he gave the Post - and that he felt it wasn't appropriate to discuss openly, McCain remarked again how this is all so unusual.

"If the answer is yes, then we refer the conversation to the Department of Justice", Rogers continued.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe whether the FBI ever seeks collection under Section 702.

"The President seems to complicate things from time to time, but it's hard for me to believe that FISA will not be renewed", said Sen. McCabe replied that it does, but that if the bureau is seeking to collect intelligence on a U.S. person, it has to obtain a warrant first from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Trump and his allies have accused the intelligence community of improperly unmasking USA persons, revealing their identities to former Obama administration officials who then allegedly leaked them to the press.

Last week, Nunes issued three subpoenas seeking details of "unmasking" of USA residents by Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

"The basis of the request must be that you need this identity to understand the intelligence you're reading", Rogers said.

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