Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is up for reauthorization in 2017. An earlier version of the program was instituted after 9/11 by President George W. Bush. In 2007, Congress adopted the Protect America Act and one year later passed the FISA Amendments Act, which included Section 702. Section 702 allows the government to target for surveillance non-U.S. citizens “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” The authorization does not extend to non-citizens outside the country to gain information on citizens or permanent residents believed to be residing in the United States.
While proponents of the law argue it is necessary for national security, critics claim that U.S. citizens are too often incidentally swept into surveillance due to the nature of the “targeting procedures” employed by intelligence agencies, and therefore reforms are needed to protect their privacy. Our experts discussed reauthorization, what it would mean if Congress chose not to act, and what kinds of reforms are under consideration.
- Adam Klein, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security
- Kate Martin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
- Moderator: Karen Lugo, Founder, Libertas-West Project