WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The statement was issued by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Rogers.
"Reauthorizing [FISA] Section 702 before it expires is vital to keeping the nation safe," the statement read. "Let us be clear: if Congress fails to act, vital intelligence collection on international terrorists and other foreign adversaries will be lost. The country will be less secure."
Section 702 refers to a provision in FISA that allows US intelligence to spy on foreigners, using electronic intercepts and other means.
Privacy advocates and critics in Congress claim Section 702 has been used to circumvent laws that prevent spying on US citizens and residents without a court order.
The joint statement denied charges of Section 702 abuse, saying that the US Intelligence Community employs the provision with the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens in mind. They also noted that courts have found the provision constitutional in cases where the measure has been challenged.