Section 702 is a controversial part of a 2008 package of amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows warrantless searches of data, aimed at foreign spies it also can include Americans who get swept up in the net of intelligence gathering of data.
“Reauthorizing this critical authority is the top legislative priority of the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders.
They are pushing to make it a permanent law that does not require re-authorization.
Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in an editorial opinion piece, “Imposing a warrant requirement to conduct such data queries, as some in Congress have proposed, would be legally unnecessary and a step toward re-erecting pre-9/11 barriers to our ability to identify foreign terrorists and their contacts.”
Lawmakers have expressed concern about the number of Americans caught up in the searches and the freedom it gives intelligence experts to sift through their data without a warrant and it allows for officials to request that the anonymized names of U.S. persons caught up in surveillance be identified for national security purposes.