June 09, 2017

Feinstein: Section 702 Reauthorization Important, Needs Changes

Supports sunset provision, other reforms to safeguard privacy, civil liberties

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement on the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:

“Lost in this week’s outcry over the latest presidential controversy was a very important hearing on the future of a key intelligence program: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This program, which involves the collection of the content of internet and phone communications of foreigners outside the United States, is a vital intelligence tool.

“Section 702 has been a valuable part of our counterterrorism efforts and I support its continuation, but I believe a sunset provision and key reforms should be considered.

Sunset provision

“Reauthorizing Section 702 is important, but equally important is the ability of Congress to conduct oversight of the program. Any reauthorization should contain a sunset provision so that Congress can continue to evaluate the program’s effectiveness and its effects on the privacy of Americans.

Reforming the program

“I also strongly believe the program can be reformed to better protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. I’ve already suggested to Chairman Burr that Congress should codify changes made by the NSA to stop its so-called ‘about’ collection, where internet communications collected are neither sent directly to or from a foreign target.

 “I’m also very interested in exploring a requirement that the FISA Court appoint an outside counsel, known as an amicus, each time the government seeks court approval to continue Section 702 collection.

“As the debate in Congress proceeds, I look forward to considering other ways to ensure the protection of Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.” 

Video

You can watch Senator Feinstein question intelligence community officials at a June 7 hearing here.

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