The House voted Thursday to pass a bill reauthorizing an important national counterterrorism tool, after a bipartisan fight over privacy protections in the legislation nearly derailed the legislation.
In a 256-164 vote, lawmakers approved a six-year reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows intelligence officials to spy on communications of noncitizens outside of the United States.
The bill includes moderate reforms authored by both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last year. Proponents say the changes will bolster privacy protections by adding a new requirement for intelligence agencies to obtain search warrants to search communications and new congressional oversight of the kinds of searches made by the government. It also limits the use of the surveillance authority so fewer Americans are caught up in the searches and requires reforms to the way intelligence agencies search the contents of electric communications beyond the sender information.
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