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FBI Director Wray calls to renew FISA section, cites Iran and China in testimony

Many Republicans have opposed the renewal of the act, arguing that federal agencies have been weaponized against conservatives. 

Published: December 5, 2023 11:56am

Updated: December 5, 2023 1:25pm

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday called for the renewal of the key surveillance law known as FISA that is set to expire Dec. 31. 

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray argued that Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is "key to our ability to detect a foreign terrorist organization overseas directing an operative here to carry out an attack in our own backyard," according to NBC News.

Section 702 allows the government to conduct surveillance operations on individuals outside of the U.S. to obtain information to detect terrorist attacks and potential threats from foreign adversaries. 

“When it comes to foreign adversaries like Iran, whose actions across a whole host of threats have grown more brazen — seeking to assassinate high-level officials, kidnap dissidents, and conduct cyber attacks here in the United States — or the People’s Republic of China, which poses a generational threat to our economic and national security, stripping the FBI of its 702 authorities would be a form of unilateral disarmament,” Wray said during opening remarks. 

Many Republicans have opposed the renewal of the act, arguing that federal agencies have been weaponized against conservatives. 

Earlier this year Rep. Matt Gaetz R-Fl. introduced a resolution not to renew the act. 

"Section 702 of FISA allows surveillance of non-U.S. citizens overseas, and when U.S. citizens are flagged in these investigations, the FBI takes over and can run a query on them for possible security issues," Gaetz wrote in a press release.

Wray argued in his testimony that "allowing 702 to lapse, or amending it in a way that undermines its effectiveness would be akin to laying bricks to rebuild another, pre-9/11-style wall."

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