Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (S.3351), which is scheduled to expire on April 19 unless renewed, is a warrantless surveillance authority that is supposed to be targeted at non-Americans located abroad. But this collection “inevitably” captures Americans’ communications, too. Intelligence agencies have turned Section 702 into a domestic spying tool, using it to perform hundreds of thousands of warrantless “backdoor” searches for Americans’ private phone calls, e-mails, and text messages every year. These searches have included shocking abuses, including baseless searches for the communications of racial justice protesters, members of Congress, and political donors. Lawmakers from both parties have thus vowed not to reauthorize the law without “significant reforms.”
Below is a section-by-section analysis of the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, S. 3351. The section titles are taken verbatim from the bill text; commentary on the sections is included in italics. As this document demonstrates, the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act (S. 3351) fails to enact the reforms necessary to curtail abuses of Section 702.