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Congress votes to extend US surveillance law

2018-01-15 15:58 by


The Senate voted 69 to 26 Thursday to start debate on the bill, which would extend for six years the National Security Agency's ability to collect from U.S. companies the emails and other communications of foreign targets located outside the United States.

The vote came hours after the House voted 256 to 164 to approve the legislation and is a sign that lawmakers intend to move swiftly to pass the measure before the program's statutory authority expires Jan. 19.

Senior Democrats in the House had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the program, but Republicans forged ahead.

Trump initially wrote on Twitter that the surveillance program, first created in secret after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and later legally authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), had been used against him but later said it was needed.

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