Section 702

Latest in Section 702

FISA Reform

The High Stakes of Misunderstanding Section 702 Reforms

In less than a month, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is set to expire. As the clock runs out on one of the U.S. government’s most important counterterrorism and counterintelligence tools, public discussion of the program and possible legislative changes remain mired in misunderstandings, misrepresentations, and political sound bites.

FISA Reform

In Defense of Including ‘Unmasking’ Protections in Law

The effort to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) may turn on a partisan fight over the “unmasking” rules that govern the disclosure of U.S. person identities in intelligence reports. Both the House intelligence and judiciary committees have proposed to write those rules into law for the first time. Speaking for many House Democrats, Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) decried the changes as “all in service of the utter B.S.

FISA Reform

The Real ‘Unmasking’ Scandal Could Be Yet to Come

Within the pantheon of Trump administration scandals, the manufactured uproar over “unmasking” came and went quicker than most. It was last spring that White House officials, working in tandem with House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, laundered intelligence information in an effort to train Americans’ sights on a practice that is routine—if highly regulated—within our national security establishment.

Intelligence Oversight

NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell Remarks on Section 702 Oversight

NSA General Counsel Glenn Gerstell delivered the following speech on September 14, 2017 at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security.

Good afternoon, and thank you for having me here today. I'd like to start by telling you a story about a former high school teacher in the Middle East. Somewhere along the way, this high school teacher became radicalized and joined a terrorist organization, rising through the ranks to become, at one point, the second-in-command of ISIS. He was known as Hajji Iman.

FISA Reform

Coats and Sessions Call for Reauthorization of FISA Title VII Without Sunset

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats sent a letter to the congressional leadership on Monday calling for a reauthorization of FISA Title VII, including Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Among their comments, they request reauthorization "without amendment beyond removing the sunset provision, to avoid any interruption in our use of these authorities to protect the American people." The full letter is included below.


The 18 Documents that ODNI Released on Section 702: Summaries

In response to a FOIA request from the ACLU, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice released FISA Amendments Act Section 702 documents on August 23. Below, we summarize each document. Note that redactions necessarily leave noticeable gaps in some of the summaries.


The Lawfare Podcast: Jim Baker and Carl Ghattas on Section 702

On December 31, 2017, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act will sunset. While U.S. officials insist that the provision authorizes critical intelligence gathering, it remains an open question whether Congress will reauthorize the law as it exists, pass it with amendments, or allow it to lapse altogether. In this week's podcast, Susan Hennessey sits down with FBI General Counsel Jim Baker and the Bureau's Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch Carl Ghattas to discuss the FBI's perspective on the legal and operational elements of Section 702.

FISA: 702 Collection

Predicting Support for Section 702 in the Senate

The many controversies currently distracting Congress, the White House, and Washington more broadly cannot change an impending deadline: the December 31st expiration of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and its most controversial component, Section 702. The five-month countdown and a packed legislative calendar suggest that Capitol Hill is underestimating the time it will take to agree on renewal. When Congress last reauthorized Section 702, it was a relatively mild affair. This time, however, opposition to a “clean” reauthorization is likely to be far stronger.

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