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Edward Snowden calls on Biden to veto FISA renewal after Senate vote

Whistleblower Edward Snowden called for President Joe Biden to veto the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on Saturday after the Senate voted to pass the re-authorization on Friday. 

‘The House has voted to approve unconstitutional, warrantless searches of Americans’ communications,’ Snowden wrote on X, formerly Twitter. ‘Now the Senate has too—late on Friday, after the media had gone home. Only the President can stop it from becoming law, and he won’t—because he’s the one that asked for it.’

Snowden’s statements come after the upper chamber voted 60-34 to pass the re-authorization. Section 702 serves as a critical tool used by the government to gather intelligence on foreign subjects using the compelled assistance of electronic communication service providers. 

The measure is now headed to Biden’s desk for his signature. 

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement following the vote, calling Section 702 ‘indispensable to the Justice Department’s work to protect the American people from terrorist, nation-state, cyber, and other threats.’ 

‘In today’s heightened global threat environment, the Justice Department will continue to use Section 702 to ensure that our efforts to keep our country safe are informed by the most valuable and timely intelligence, as we continue to uphold our commitment to protect the rights of all Americans,’ Garland said in the statement. 

The provision lapsed for less than an hour at midnight on Friday. Had the provision expired, companies would not have been forced to comply with government requests for surveillance aid under the bill. The government would then be required to obtain a warrant to compel any such assistance from companies.

Bipartisan coalitions have grown on both sides of Section 702 renewal, with some arguing that the provision is a vital national security necessity, and others expressing concern over its violations of constitutional protections.

Amendments proposed by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., were voted on prior to the bill’s final consideration. 

‘We cannot continue sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security. Rather than reining in FISA overreach, RISAA expands it dramatically,’ Paul said before voting on his amendments commenced. ‘I urge my colleagues to support meaningful reforms that protect both national security and civil liberties.’

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., spoke out against the consideration of the amendments given the short deadline. None of the amendments secured enough votes, however, and were not added to the bill as a result. 

The House of Representatives voted to pass the bill earlier this month, placing Speaker Mike Johnson in a tough spot between privacy and national security hawks within his conference. 

Fox News’ Julia Johnson and Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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