While a bill approved behind closed doors by the Senate Intelligence Committee to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) included provisions that would throttle the government's ability to view emails and other communications of Americans, it would codify illegal practices, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

“It's unacceptable that an issue of this magnitude was debated behind closed doors. We now know what mischief they were up to in secret," ACLU Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani, said in a release. "Not only did they fail to curb the litany abuses that have occurred in recent years, in many respects, the bill would expand existing surveillance authorities."

The bill, which reauthorizes Section 702 for eight more years, "would further strip Americans of their constitutional rights," she said.

Earlier in the week Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., sought to extend Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for another four years but offered critical reforms aimed at curbing government surveillance.