Did the Leak of Alleged Russia National Security Threat Kill The Bill To Reform Warrantless Surveillance?

Feb 19, 2024 | Political News

The contentious US surveillance program’s reauthorization faced a major setback over the last week. The United States House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) played a pivotal role in derailing the process, leading to a stalemate that hindered any progress before Congress’s focus shifts to the impending government shutdown in March.

Negotiations between opposing House committees unraveled on Wednesday when HPSCI members, instead of participating in a key meeting, chose to derail a pre-agreed plan for a “compromise” bill. This development came as a blow to months of efforts aimed at renewing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a controversial intelligence tool that has, despite promises not to, has allowed the warrantless surveillance of US citizens.

This deadlock in Congress has left the intelligence community in disarray and pushed security advocates to defend surveillance practices, despite their acknowledged susceptibility to misuse.

Key insiders reveal that HPSCI leaders reneged on a privately negotiated deal after lengthy discussions. As reported by Wired, these sources, who requested anonymity, indicated that the collapse of the deal was due to an amendment proposal. This amendment aimed to stop the government from buying information from US companies without a warrant, focusing particularly on cell phone location data often used for tracking individuals.