The U.S. Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence penned a letter to the Congressional majority and minority leadership urging them to permanently reauthorize Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire at the end of this year.
AG Jeff Sessions and DNI Daniel Coats specifically cited Section 702 stating it produces significant foreign intelligence needed to protect the nation against various foreign threats, including terrorism. adding FISA is necessary as it gives their departments the ability to “collect vital information about international terrorists, cyber actors, individuals and entities engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the United States.” All while under the oversight of all three branches of the government, the letter stated.
However, members of Congress and privacy advocates have fought against the powers included in Section 702 as it allows for the warrantless incidental gathering of data on Americans.
In July Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing praised the data collected under 702, but noted “Still, the unknown scope of this incidental collection is concerning to many. Some are also concerned with the way in which the FBI is permitted to search already-collected 702 material.”