Senate Passes FISA Spying Bill, Includes New Measure to Turn U.S. Businesses Into NSA Spies

Chris Menahan
Apr. 20, 2024

The Senate on Friday night passed the House's FISA spying bill -- described as "the biggest expansion of domestic surveillance since the Patriot Act" -- to allow warrantless spying on Americans and grant the government new powers to compel an "enormous range" of businesses to act as NSA spies.

Despite protests from the American public, the bill included the provision that "effectively grants the NSA access to the communications equipment of almost any U.S. business, plus huge numbers of organizations and individuals," Elizabeth Goitein reported.

"Tonight the Senate passed the House-passed FISA expansion bill—after rejecting seven different amendments requiring a warrant and otherwise reforming FISA 702," Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) commented on Twitter. "This is a horrible bill. It shows wanton disregard for the rights of Americans. This is not a day to celebrate."

From The Conservative Treehouse:
Last night, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) teamed up with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and added an amendment that would have required the government to get a warrant before reviewing any communications incidentally collected from Americans. The amendment was the last effort priority for a smidgen of hope; the IC railed against it, saying it would stop them from acting on critical "national security" information in real time. It failed by a vote of 42 to 50.

Another Democrat Senator, Ron Wyden (Oregon), a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, vowed and pledged that FISA-702 would never be renewed by any measure that required his signature. "I'll do everything in my power to stop it," he previously said. "Searches have gone after American protesters, political campaign donors, even people who simply reported crimes to the FBI. The abuses have been extensive and well documented," Wyden argued to colleagues. Wyden's effort to strike the language failed by a vote of 34 to 58.

"Egregious Fourth Amendment violations against U.S. citizens will increase dramatically if this bill is passed into law," Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee warned. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) offered an amendment to block DHS, FBI, DOJ, IRS, and various ancillary intelligence, law enforcement, national parks and government agencies from buying Americans' electronic NSA data from third parties and federal contractors. Paul's amendment failed by a vote of 31 to 61.
Here's a list of the Senators who voted for the bill:

Such is life under occupation.

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