The U.S. intelligence community is facing calls to reform the spying tool known as 702, which is set to expire at the end of the year.

By Daniel Boguslaw, The Intercept

During a senate briefing last week, a federal counterterrorism official cited the October 7 Hamas attack while urging Congress to reauthorize a sprawling and controversial surveillance program repeatedly used to spy on U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

stop mass surveillance protest signs

“As evidenced by the events of the past month, the terrorist threat landscape is highly dynamic and our country must preserve [counterterrorism] fundamentals to ensure constant vigilance,” said Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Christine Abizaid to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, after making repeat references to Hamas’s attack on Israel.

She pointed to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which enables the U.S. government to gather vast amounts of intelligence — including about U.S. citizens — under the broad category of foreign intelligence information, without first seeking a warrant.

Section 702 “provides key indications and warning on terrorist plans and intentions, supports international terrorist disruptions, enables critical intelligence support to, for instance, border security, and gives us strategic insight into foreign terrorists and their networks overseas,” Abizaid said. “I respectfully urge Congress to reauthorize this vital authority.”

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