WASHINGTON – Congress is nearing renewal of a key spy program that allows U.S. intelligence agencies to collect information on foreigners abroad.
Law enforcement veterans and privacy advocates say the bill's demand for a warrant in certain cases when the FBI digs into Americans' emails and other communications will amount to little more than a nuisance.
Those backing the bill say the new provision will further safeguard Americans' communications. Opponents say the warrant requirement would rarely be required.
The House bill being debated Wednesday in the Senate allows the FBI to continue scanning a database of intelligence collected on foreign targets, using search terms, for information on Americans. But it would require investigators to get probable cause warrants to view the actual content in cases unrelated to national security.