House votes to extend questionable NSA surveillance program for six more years

Opponents said it infringes on privacy.

We feel like we have a great opportunity ... to pass this amendment on the House floor to make a difference for the American people - to stand up for the Constitution. "The House vote to reauthorize warrantless surveillance poses an acute threat to free expression across the globe, but it is doubly concerning given President Trump's apparent willingness to target and silence his critics, especially those in the press".

Mr. Trump's first tweet on the topic appeared to encourage lawmakers to support limiting the law.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the bill next week after it returns from a break, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.

Republicans seemed undeterred by Democrats' demands, plowing ahead with planned votes on the bill and a sole amendment to it Thursday morning.

But the president's mixed messages sent shock waves through House Republicans, who were gathered for a regular conference meeting when the first of the president's tweets came out.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, was critical of the negotiations between the No. 2 congressional leaders and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, calling them "the five white guys" and joking about them opening a hamburger stand - an apparent reference to the Five Guys burger chain.

"As the clock ticks on authorization for government surveillance, we recognize that legislation in this area is facing a deadline for some type of renewal", said CCIA President Ed Black.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., spent 30 minutes on the phone with the president explaining the differences between domestic and foreign surveillance, as many of his members reacted in disbelief and befuddlement.

Trump, who continues to brood over special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible ties between Russian Federation and his associates, took less than an hour to link the FISA issue to his own disputes with USA law enforcement agencies.

Just hours before Trump's tweet, the White House had urged lawmakers to oppose new rules that advocates say could gut the programme.

"This is irresponsible, untrue, and frankly it endangers our national security", Warner tweeted. Among Democrats, Washington Post columnists at CNN and on the set of Morning Joe, talk has turned to the question of the president's mental fitness and attendant debates about the 25th Amendment.

And a short time later, Trump changed his tune. "We need it! Get smart!" he tweeted. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Unmasking refers to the largely separate issue of how Americans' names kept secret in intelligence reports can be revealed.

It was unclear whether Trump impulsively meant to try to derail the bill, which is supported by his administration and congressional allies. It is unclear what the dossier that alleges his campaign had ties to Russian Federation has to do with unmasking or reauthorizing the spying program, but Trump has repeatedly denounced it in recent days.

Cornyn said the real work for a bipartisan immigration deal will be achieved by a group of four leading lawmakers - the No. 2 Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate. Section 702, Snowden revealed, formed the legal basis of extensive global monitoring that opened up almost every communication across American borders to monitoring of metadata - information about the message itself, like timestamps, sender and recipient - as well as message content.

Before that vote, a behind the scenes scramble after the president called FISA "controversial" suggesting it was used to spy on his campaign. Our civil liberties shouldn't be signed away with the stroke of a pen.

As the tweet buzzed in notifications from Capitol Hill to the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Trump's advisers hurried to draft a follow-up that might help preserve the administration's position in support of the act's reauthorization.

  • Leroy Wright