House Democrats call on Republicans to pull FISA bill, cite Trump tweet

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"Searching through the communications of any American should require a warrant before the search takes place". That law, from the FISA Amendments Act, addresses how US spies collect information on foreigners overseas. Without action, the 702 powers and the intelligence it produces goes away.

Trump then called House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), and they spoke for half an hour.

The bill passed 256 to 164 in the lower chamber and now moves on to the Senate. It now heads to the Senate. Rand Paul, a Republican, has threatened a filibuster. Though FISA is supposed to be used for snooping on foreign targets, it has been brought to bear against Americans and used for domestic crime cases, secretly and without warrants. Traditionally, that means collecting communications where the sender or recipient is a surveillance target. But top Democrats seized on the confusion, calling on Republican leaders to withdraw the bill from consideration "in light of the irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today", Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on the floor.

The reason that critics of the law are so upset is that the program essentially gives law enforcement agencies a "backdoor" to search Americans' data without having to get a warrant.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, a California Republican, called the House passage of the measure "a big step to ensure the continuation of one of the intelligence community's most vital tools for tracking foreign terrorists".

Still, the whole of Congress rejected lawmakers' privacy-minded amendment on a 183-233 vote before adopting the renewal outright.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats calls the intelligence the "holy grail" that provides insight into the thinking and actions of USA adversaries.

"It wasn't confusing to me, I'm sorry it was to you", she said.

Thursday's fight created very unusual coalitions.

The tweet enraged Republican leaders on Capitol Hill who have been trying to chart a course to renew it, more or less intact, and left leaders in both parties scrambling to secure votes. "He knows that and he, I think, put out something that clarifies that", Ryan told reporters. "For American citizens, it is your data that is subject here".

Under ordinary circumstances, the legalities of the FISA program have been questioned.

Some lawmakers said the data collection is small, but others said it was a "huge amount".

Senior Democrats urged cancellation of the vote following Mr Trump's post.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that the Trump administration was against the USA Rights Act and that it supported the reauthorization of Section 702 as it was written.

He later said "This vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

Efforts by Democrats and some conservative and libertarian Republicans to ensure that the agencies be required to get specific warrants for exploiting USA citizens' data acquired through so-called "incidental collection" failed to gain support.

But the suggestion that Trump had agreed with that significant change to the surveillance law received support from Paul, who is sponsoring the amendment with Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

Those messages were flagged and retained when names, contact information or other identifiers of intelligence targets were identified in the message, according to the New York Times.