WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he had signed into law a bill renewing the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program.
“Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that extends Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The law renews for six years and with minimal changes the National Security Agency (NSA) program, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.
The measure easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week despite mixed signals posted on Twitter by Trump and narrowly avoided a filibuster in the Senate earlier this week that split party lines. The measure had drawn opposition from a coalition of privacy-minded Democrats and libertarian Republicans.
In his tweet on Friday, Trump attempted to clarify why he signed the bill despite repeating an unsubstantiated claim that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on Trump’s 2016 Republican presidential campaign.
“This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election,” Trump wrote. “I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!”
Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Sandra Maler and Jonathan Oatis