Intel agencies want to make the most controversial foreign surveillance rule permanent

Intel agencies want to make the most controversial foreign surveillance rule permanent

Coats said "it remains infeasible to generate an exact, accurate, meaningful, and responsive methodology that can count how often a US person's communications may be collected" under the law known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The law, set to expire at the end of the year, has been criticized repeatedly by privacy advocates who say it allows for the data of millions of USA citizens to be swept up in government surveillance.

Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats (2nd-R) testifies as he appears alongside acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe (L), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (2nd-L) and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers (R) at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2017.

A bloc of conservative senators support that move, setting the stage for what is likely to be a contentious debate with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives who want transparency and oversight reforms to Section 702 and a limit on searches of U.S. communications.

Republican senators said Section 702 is used for counterterrorism purposes and "is one of the most effective tools available to the intelligence community" to fight threats against the United States.

NSA chief Mike Rogers said he's never been directed to do anything illegal or immoral.

"We can not allow adversaries overseas to cloak themselves in the legal protections we extend to Americans", White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert wrote in an editorial published in the New York Times newspaper on Wednesday.

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"The NSA has made Herculean, extensive efforts to devise a counting strategy that would be accurate", Dan Coats, a career Republican politician appointed by Republican President Donald Trump as the top US intelligence official, testified to a Senate panel on Wednesday.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and more than a dozen Republican senators, including Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, introduced a bill Tuesday that would permanently authorize Section 702.

This morning at 10:00 ET we are liveblogging the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on Section 702, the provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act set to sunset at the end of this year.

Coats and other officials had previously told Congress they would attempt to share an estimate publicly before the statute expires.

Wyden grilled Coats over the privacy of American citizens, alleging that Coats went back on a promise to provide a number for how many law-abiding citizens got caught up in intelligence collection.

Meanwhile, Thomas P. Bossert, homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times published Wednesday stressing the need to make the law permanent.

Privacy advocates criticized the push to make Section 702 permanent, arguing that regular reviews of the law were necessary to conduct appropriate oversight and prevent potential abuses.

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