- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, said Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee’s new bill introduced last week offering reforms to the nation’s top surveillance law doesn’t do enough and that he’s planning to introduce a more stringent bill with Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is set to expire at the end of the year unless Congress reauthorizes the program. The Trump administration’s intelligence officials have asked for the law to be renewed in perpetuity, and lawmakers have hinted they’ll reauthorize it, but with reforms pushed by civil liberty groups including a sunset date.

House Republicans and Democrats on the Judiciary Committee introduced a bipartisan bill last week trying to please both the civil liberty groups as well as the intelligence community, suggesting a six-year sunset for Section 702 and new reporting requirements for intelligence officials in order to protect Americans from being unmasked.

“I appreciate the work by Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers on a difficult issue. Unfortunately, the House bill falls short of meaningful reform of Section 702, and doesn’t do enough to protect Americans’ constitutional freedoms. Senator Paul and I plan to introduce reform legislation soon that will safeguard Americans from this far-reaching warrantless surveillance program,” Mr. Wyden said.

Mr. Wyden and Mr. Paul have both been extremely critical of the surveillance program’s impact on Americans’ privacy rights, saying intelligence officials have refused to tell Congress how exactly the communications — including phone calls and emails — are swept up and searched without a warrant.

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