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House votes to reauthorize spying bill that enabled the FBI to violate Americans’ rights. Only 59 Republicans voted ‘no.’

The House voted 273 to 147 Friday in favor of reauthorizing the surveillance bill that has been exploited by the FBI hundreds of thousands of times to spy on American citizens. Only 59 Republicans reportedly voted against renewing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The bill is now headed to the Senate, where it will likely be passed before the April 19 deadline, to the great satisfaction of its champions in the Biden administration, members of the the House Intelligence Committee, and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The bill was passed after an amendment requiring the FBI to get a warrant before searching Americans’ private communications under Section 702 failed earlier in the day in a 212-212 tie vote.

The congressman who led the amendment, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), blasted the 86 Republicans who helped defeat it, writing, “86 Republicans voted with Joe Biden and the Uniparty to allow the FBI to continue spying on Americans without a warrant. The Swamp is deep.”

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), among the 86, suggested that “this amendment is not about Americans’ inboxes and outboxes. This is not about Americans’ data. his amendment is about Hezbollah’s data, Hamas’ data, and the Communist Chinese Party’s data,” adding “it will make us go blind.”

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), among those opposed to the reauthorization, said, “So I’m supposed to say I want to grant more power to the intelligence community? More power to the government that is releasing terrorists as we speak onto the streets of Texas? It defies any kind of logic.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), another FISA critic, said, “Holy cow! Pretty soon it’s going to be ‘everybody gets to get searched for any darn reason they want.’ That’s not how it works in America, at least not how it’s supposed to work.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) suggested that while he was once opposed to the reauthorization of Section 702, classified briefings provided him with a “different perspective,” reported CNN.

“When I was a member of [the House Judiciary Committee], I saw the abuses of the FBI, the terrible abuses over and over and over … and then when I became speaker I went to the SCIF and got the confidential briefing on sort of the other perspective on that to understand the necessity of section 702 of FISA and how important it is for national security,” said Johnson. “And it gave me a different perspective.”

The perspective Johnson came to adopt ruled the day. CNN highlighted that only 59 Republicans and 88 Democrats ended up voting against reauthorization.

The new FISA bill entails a two-year authorization instead of a five-year reauthorization, meaning that if Trump is re-elected, he could revamp FISA laws before the end of his second term.

Blaze News previously noted that Section 702 is a provision of FISA first enacted by Congress in 2008 that lets the government spy on foreign nationals located outside the U.S. with the compelled aid of electronic communication service providers. This was the law exploited by the FBI to spy on members of the Trump campaign in 2016 without probable cause.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence indicated that Congress enacted Section 702 in order to “address a collection gap that resulted from the evolution of technology in the years after FISA was passed in 1978.”

“Many terrorists and other foreign adversaries were using email accounts serviced by U.S. companies,” claimed the ODNI. “Because of this change in communications technology, the government had to seek individual court orders, based on a finding of probable cause, to obtain the communications of non-U.S. persons located abroad.”

Alternatively going through the courts was supposedly too costly “because of the resources required and because the government couldn’t always meet the probable cause standard.”

While 702 targets must be foreign nationals suspected to be outside the U.S., the FBI has admitted that “such targets may send an email or have a phone call with a U.S. person.” Numerous American citizens have, consequently, been subjected to warrantless surveillance and had their private communications both tapped and stored.

The FBI has confessed as much, indicating on multiple occasions that there were at least 278,000 “unintentional” back-door search queries of the 702 database for the private communications of Americans between 2020 and 2021 alone.

Jan. 6 protesters, congressional campaign donors, and BLM protesters are among those who have been swept up into the warrantless 702 searches.

-The Blaze

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