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    Trump Administration Minimizes Disclosure in Reauthorizing Eavesdropping

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    The Trump administration’s effort to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) minimizes transparency, with officials refusing to disclose the number of Americans who have been subjected to government spying, US Senator Ron Wyden told reporters on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Wyden noted that the US government refuses to answer questions from the Senate regarding the general categories of people being targeted under Section 702 of FISA.

    "The administration is actually going backward on transparency, it won’t provide an estimate on the number of Americans swept up under the program," Wyden said.

    The section authorizes the US Intelligence Community to target communications of non-US citizens who are outside of the United States for foreign intelligence purposes. The National Security Agency (NSA) has come under fire in recent years for abusing these authorities and spying on US citizens in the United States and abroad.

    The current version of the law expires at the end of 2017. A bipartisan group of lawmakers and numerous rights and advocacy groups have expressed concern that the reauthorization of FISA will be squeezed into the spending bills that are needed to keep the government running.

    Wyden warned that failure to hold an open debate on FISA surveillance would be a horrible mistake.

    The US Senate remains divided on the issue, while the House of Representatives has voiced support for increased restrictions on surveillance.

    The House Judiciary Committee has suggested that the FBI should request a warrant to review any data obtained while looking for evidence in FISA intercepts.

    The NSA is currently conducting surveillance on more than 100,000 foreign nationals outside the United States, several senior US officials revealed last month. US officials claim Section 702 has helped stymie cybersecurity threats and disrupt terror plots.

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    Tags:
    government, disclosure, spying, concerns, legislation, intelligence, surveillance, US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Ron Wyden, United States
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