Intelligence agencies seek congressional approval for expanded surveillance powers

04/16/2024 // Laura Harris // 470 Views

Tags: big government, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, conspiracy, Dangerous, deception, deep state, FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fentanyl, fentanyl crisis, insanity, national security, National Security Agency, NSA, overdose, police state, policing, privacy watch, spy gate, surveillance, Tyranny, watched

Intelligence agencies in the United States are urgently seeking congressional approval for the reauthorization and expansion of their surveillance powers supposedly to "fight against the fentanyl crisis."According to several reports, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency have been actively engaging with Congress to expand Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
Section 702, initially established in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, allows certain agencies warrantless access to the communications of foreigners overseas to counter supposed threats to national security.
Over the years, Section 702 has evolved to encompass a broader range of targets beyond suspected terrorists, including foreign governments and arms traffickers. CIA operatives and analysts have been using the program to track and disrupt fentanyl trafficking networks to identify key players involved in the illicit trade.
To date, the use of Section 702 for the CIA is restricted to targeting drug traffickers linked to one of three officially recognized threat groups, but the acquisition of a "fourth certification" would grant U.S. intelligence operatives more freedom to go after those involved in the fentanyl trade without having to make such connections.
However, as the fentanyl overdose crisis in the U.S. worsens, with over 112,000 overdose deaths in 2023 alone, the CIA now argues that the current scope of Section 702 is insufficient to effectively target the transnational criminal organizations responsible for manufacturing fentanyl from China, transporting it to Mexico and then smuggling it across the border into the United States.
Deputy CIA Director David Cohen stressed the importance of real-time intelligence to effectively target and dismantle criminal networks operating across international borders.
CIA Director William Burns, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines have all testified before Congress to underscore the importance of Section 702 in combating national security threats while affirming their commitment to safeguarding civil liberties.
They have embarked on a public relations campaign to receive popular support for expanding and reauthorizing Section 702, including declassifying information about it and addressing concerns about privacy and oversight.
Congress faces critical decision on surveillance program reauthorization amid allegations of abuse

The program and its potential reauthorization and expansion have come under intense scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans, who argue that it needs more oversight to prevent abuses by intelligence agencies, particularly the FBI. (Related: FBI surveillance contractor infiltrated chatrooms, monitored skeptics of COVID jabs.)
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has raised alarms about the alleged misuse of the program, including instances where it was reportedly employed to investigate contributors to political campaigns. Lee voiced his distrust of Wray during the December 2023 hearing, insisting that the agency had failed to demonstrate its trustworthiness.
“We have no reason to trust you because you haven’t behaved in a way that is trustworthy,” Lee told Wray.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), one of the most vocal opponents of the CIA's warrantless surveillance program., also echoed a similar statement in an interview with USA Today. Wyden expressed deep reservations about any use of Section 702, especially an expansion, given its past abuses of civil liberties.
"Section 702 has been repeatedly abused by government agencies in recent years," said Wyden.
Analysts Noah Chauvin and Elizabeth Goitein from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law stated that Congress must decide among four bills to reauthorize Section 702 or allow it to expire on or before April 19.
"This controversial law was originally intended to make it easier for the government to monitor foreign terrorists, but the government has repeatedly abused it to illegally spy on Americans, violating individual rights on a wide scale," Chauvin and Goitein said in a Feb. 2 primer on the surveillance statute.
Chauvin and Goitein warned the public that only two of the proposed bills offer potential solutions to curtail future abuses: the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (Protect Liberty Act) and the Government Surveillance Reform Act of 2023.
Learn more instances of harmful surveillance in the United States at
Watch this report about corruption inside America's intelligence agencies.

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