NSA Surveillance Powers Set for Renewal, But Will Reforms Happen?

Congressional Leadership Seen Resisting Any Efforts at Serious Safeguards

FISA’s Section 702, which is used for warrantless surveillance of telephone and Internet communications, is due to expire at the end of the year. It’s highly unlikely that the Congress will allow it to expire.

The exact details of the renewal are still up for debate, however, with both the House and the Senate pushing different versions, and several lawmakers are trying to push different reforms.

Section 702 has been shown to be vulnerable to major abuse. Serious reform, however, is facing a lot of resistance, with pro-surveillance officials saying it would weaken the ability to surveil in general.

So while some lawmakers are promising they won’t support any renewal without some “meaningful” reforms, anything that seems too meaningful is unlikely to ever get through in the first place.

So far this has kept the renewal from getting pushed through, but as the expiration date nears, so too will the sense of urgency to finalize the deal to keep the deal going.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.