US Senate votes to extend NSA surveillance program

ANI | Updated: Jan 19, 2018 01:52 IST

Washington DC [United States], Jan 19 (ANI): The United States Senate has passed an extension of a government surveillance program, sending the bill to President Donald Trump's desk.

According to the Hill, senators voted 65-34 on the bill, which accommodates a six-year extension with minimal changes to the National Security Agency (NSA) program, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.

"The American people deserve better than the legislation before us. ... The American people deserve better than warrantless wiretapping," said Sen. Martin Heinrich.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on his colleagues to back extending the program labeling it "one of the most important tools" for national security officials.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr stressed upon that the NSA program was "the single most important national security tool we have in the United States."

The law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows the NSA to collect texts and emails of foreigners abroad without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the U.S, said the report.

While, the White House, US intelligence agencies and congressional Republican leaders have defended the program by calling it indispensable to national security, privacy advocates opine that it mandates NSA and other intelligence agencies to amass data belonging to Americans in a way that represents an offence to the US Constitution.(ANI)