Congress extends foreign surveillance law
Congress has voted to renew the government's authority to monitor electronic communications of foreigners abroad.
It's a classified program to identify terrorists and spies without getting court orders for each intercept. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act program was on the brink of expiring by year's end.
But the Senate on Friday approved a five-year extension by a 73-23 vote and sent the bill to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it.
Lawmakers rejected arguments from an unusual combination of Democratic liberals and ideological Republican conservatives. They demanded to know about any Americans whose communications were swept up in the foreign intercepts.
The intelligence community and leaders of the Senate's intelligence committee say the information is classified and oppose the disclosure.
The law is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, which argue that it gives the government authorization to eavesdrop electronically on Americans' communications - like phone calls and emails - without a warrant, if it's believed one party is outside the country.
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