Senate passes bill to renew foreign surveillance program

January 18, 2018 - 12:56 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill renewing a critical foreign intelligence collection program has cleared the Senate.

The vote Thursday was 65-34 to reauthorize a program dubbed the "holy grail" because it lets U.S. spy agencies conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad.

The House has already passed the bill, and President Donald Trump says he'll sign it into law.

Some lawmakers wanted the bill to strengthen protections for Americans whose communications are inadvertently vacuumed up in the foreign surveillance.

The bill lets the FBI keep scanning the intelligence database, using search terms, for information on Americans.

But it would require a warrant to view the actual content in cases unrelated to national security. The bill's opponents say the warrant requirement would rarely kick in and more is needed to protect Americans' communications.

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