Surveillance Programs Expire as Trump, Senators Seek More Reform

Opponents seek more transparency, privacy protections

Three forms of FISA surveillance authorized by the USA Freedom Act, including the controversial Section 215, have expired on Sunday night when Congress failed to pass their renewal. This came amid opposition from Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who had urged President Trump to veto it.

The House has passed a resolution in the past week, supposedly a “compromise” version, though the privacy advocates were deeply critical, saying there was nowhere near enough transparency or privacy protection in the new version. Trump appeared to agree, and threatened the veto.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted the brief expiration would “not change the result,” and that the bill would be renewed. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) says that if there are any terrorist attacks this weekend, Paul and Lee would be to blame.

There were suggestions that the House might try to come up with a new, more acceptable compromise with real reforms. The Senate leadership appears to broadly oppose those limitations however, which is why they struggled to get the bill passed in the first place.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for 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.