FISA Section 702 re-authorization

FISA Section 702 authorizes the NSA to collect foreign communications outside of the US to include terrorist threats. There are some problems with this section to include, but not limited to, abuse. Few safeguards are in place to protect US citizens that are often caught up in foreign NSA surveillance with most of the safeguards being administrative and unenforced.

Susan Rice illegally unmasked people working for the Trump campaign as part of an insurance policy to “protect” US citizens from then-candidate Trump.

The following bullet points are from the FISA Section 702 fact sheet that was created by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • FISA Section 702 is a critical authority that allows the government to obtain the communications of foreigners outside the United States, including foreign terrorist threats.
  • For example, the government could use FISA Section 702 to obtain the e-mails or phone calls of an ISIS member outside the United States who is plotting an attack. The government cannot use FISA Section 702 to target the e-mails or phone calls of any American, even if that American is a terrorist.
  • FISA Section 702 is not bulk collection and cannot be used to target Americans. It also cannot be used to target any person located in the United States.
  • The government may only use FISA Section 702 with the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
  • Federal courts, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board have found FISA Section 702 to be constitutional and legal.
  • FISA Section 702 is one of the most important legal authorities to stop terrorist attacks. For example, FISA Section 702 allowed the government to track, find, and eliminate a top ISIS
    leader, Haji Iman.

Section 702 in its purest form as described above isn’t an issue, but when you have secret FISA courts rubber stamping warrants based on who a person is opposed to what a person has done, then you have an unconstitutional mess on your hands. If a US citizen’s communication is swept up in the foreign collection and that US citizen is evidence of a crime the FBI is supposed to investigate.

I imagine, based on history, that Section 702 is also being abused by the Trump administration, but only time will tell.