Headline RoundupApril 21st, 2024

Senate Renews FISA With Bipartisan Support and Opposition

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Senate reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows warrantless spying on foreign nationals.

The Details: The bill passed 60-34 with bipartisan support, but also opposition from hardline Republicans and left-wing Democrats. Reauthorization came minutes after its expiration deadline at midnight on Friday. It’s since been signed into law by President Biden. Under the legislation, the FBI will be able to collect business records, conduct wiretaps, and view search history without a warrant.

For Context: FISA has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans, who have raised concerns that it violates American citizens’ privacy. The bill was blocked three times in the last five months by Republicans before passing last week in a 273-147 vote when its term was shortened from five to two years.

Key Quotes: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, “It wasn’t easy, people had many different views, but we all know one thing: letting FISA expire would have been dangerous.” Intelligence Committee member Senator Ron Wyden (R-OR) said, “It’s important that people understand how sweeping this bill is. Something was inserted at the last minute, which would basically compel somebody like a cable guy to spy for the government.”

How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum highlighted opposition from less establishment-friendly factions of both sides. NBC News (Lean Left bias) described this as “an unusual coalition of progressive and conservative civil liberties advocates.” Reuters (Center bias) added context that the FBI reportedly used this power to hunt for information on Black Lives Matter protestors.

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