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US Senator Wants Number of Americans Secretly Spied to Be Revealed

16.03.2017 19:11

US Senator Ron Wyden has called on the government to reveal a number of Americans that are being surveilled by the country's security services.

The Trump administration must reveal how many US citizens have their phone calls, emails and other communications monitored without warrants under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Wyden said in a press release.

"[T]he key question is, and has always been: how many law-abiding Americans are having their communications swept in all that collection?" Wyden asked on Wednesday. "Without even an estimate of that number, there is no way to judge what Section 702 means for the civil liberties of Americans."

Under Section 702, the US government can monitor persons outside the United States to collect information on foreign terror suspects, but bars security agencies from targeting the communications of Americans. Congress is set to reauthorize the provisions of FISA including Section 702.

"Congress and the American people deserve a fully informed debate about this reauthorization. And we can’t have that debate unless we know the impact of Section 702 on the privacy and constitutional rights of Americans," Wyden said.

The program expires at the end of this year, but Senator Dan Coats, nominee to serve as Director of National Intelligence, called renewing Section 702 his top legislative priority this year, Wyden noted.