In 2013, a National Security Agency contractor named Edward Snowden revealed US surveillance programs that involved the massive and warrantless gathering of Americans’ electronic communications. Two of the programs, called Upstream and Prism, are allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That section expires at year’s end, and President Donald Trump’s administration, like his predecessor’s administration, wants the law renewed so those snooping programs can continue.
That said, even as the administration seeks renewal of the programs, Congress and the public have been left in the dark regarding questions surrounding how many Americans’ electronic communications have been ensnared under the programs. Congress won’t be told in a classified setting either despite repeated requests.
Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan and member of the House Judiciary Committee, told a panel hearing last week that Congress needed the numbers to help it decide whether to reauthorize the programs.
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