Massive criticism from the Trump camp: US Senate extends controversial espionage program

Massive criticism from the Trump camp
US Senate extends controversial espionage program

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At the last second, the US Senate managed to extend a program to monitor non-Americans for two years. Data protection advocates have been criticizing the law for years. But Republicans loyal to Trump are also trying to prevent the program.

A controversial US intelligence surveillance program will be extended by two years. After the House of Representatives, the Senate also voted for it that night with 60 to 34, i.e. with votes from both parties. US President Joe Biden will quickly sign the bill and bring it into force, announced his national security advisor Jake Sullivan.

Without approval from all of Congress, the program would have expired at midnight on April 19. Voting in the Senate began 15 minutes before the end of the deadline, and the vote did not end until after midnight. “We have good news for national security,” announced Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer. The extension was brought through Congress just in time.

Since 2008, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has allowed the United States to monitor messages from non-Americans abroad without a court order. Data protection advocates criticized the regulation because data from Americans would also be collected if they are in contact with the people being monitored. A demand that a court order would be necessary in such a case ultimately did not receive a majority.

Criticism of the US government’s spying capabilities has also become increasingly louder in recent years from the Republican side. Some hardliners around Donald Trump had previously tried in the House of Representatives to take the extension off the agenda. Trump himself has criticized the law for years because it helped the FBI investigate possible connections between Trump campaign aides and Russia in the 2016 election. House Speaker Mike Johnson finally made it necessary for the law to be renewed every two years rather than just every five years. The Republicans hope to be able to push through changes again in the event of a possible election victory for Donald Trump.

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