U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) arrives ahead of a vote on a bill to renew the National Security Agency's warrantless internet surveillance program, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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The Senate Thursday passed a bill to renew a critical foreign intelligence collection program dubbed the "holy grail" because it allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad.The Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize the program for six years. While the program focuses on targets abroad, Americans' emails, phone calls and other communications get vacuumed up in the process of collecting the foreign intelligence. The bill that passed lets the FBI keep scanning the database of the intelligence collected on foreign targets, using search terms, for information on Americans. The bill's proponents say the new provision will further safeguard Americans' communications, but opponents say the warrant requirement would rarely kick in and does little to further protect the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.
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