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Tight Vote Ahead for House on NSA Surveillance

Tight Vote Ahead for House on NSA Surveillance

As Trump's morning tweet sent shockwaves through Washington, the president once again took to Twitter, this time to voice support for the 702 authority.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, seized on the two tweets by moving to postpone the vote "in light of the irresponsible and inherently contradictory messages coming out of the White House today".

Donald Trump suggested on Thursday that a key program to collect foreign intelligence could have been used by the Obama administration to "badly surveil and abuse" his campaign.

Hours later, the president appeared to back off supporting the limits by writing: "With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land".

"We need it!" he said.

Asked by Reuters at a conference in NY about Trump's tweets, Rob Joyce, the top White House cyber official, said there was no confusion within Oval Office about the value of the surveillance program and that there have been no cases of it being used improperly for political purposes.

Kelly, the White House chief of staff who was inundated with phone calls earlier in the morning, traveled to Capitol Hill for the vote and spoke with lawmakers inside the GOP cloakroom just off the House floor. That bill, by Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., would restrict the use of data collected under Section 702 in some criminal prosecutions of USA citizens.

Civil liberties advocates on both the left and right have criticized Section 702 as overly broad, and argued that American communications are often swept up in the surveillance too.

Nunes said his bill strengthens privacy protections "without hindering the ability of our intelligence professionals to monitor terror suspects, analyze collected data, and keep us safe". "The Constitution really isn't guaranteed to everyone around the world, it's guaranteed to us here", he said.

More news: Trump administration to let states adopt Medicaid work requirements

If the Amash amendment doesn't pass, Massie vows to pledge "hell no" on the larger bill.

One of the most contentious issues surrounding the Trump dossier is the question of whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation used unverified material from the dossier - a Clinton campaign opposition research product - to apply for permission to spy on Americans.

The White House declined to comment on who spoke to the President on Thursday about the FISA issue.

"No one could believe it", another Republican supportive of the FISA reauthorization said.

"I have spoken with the President, but I don't think it's necessary that you understand this as switching his position", Paul said on "Morning Joe".

The law also has been credited by intelligence officials with foiling terrorist plots to bomb the New York City subway system and the New York Stock Exchange.

NY congressman Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary committee, on Tuesday said the HPSCI-backed bill that is headed to the floor "does not include meaningful reform" but is being "sold as a reform bill".

GOP leaders chose to bring the Nunes bill to the floor rather than legislation passed by the House Judiciary Committee that supporters say had stronger privacy provisions.


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