PeacockArmageddon (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Modifications to the USA Freedom Act made on behalf of the National Security Agency permit officials to warrantlessly monitor foreign targets in the U.S. and track certain domestic individuals.

The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman writes:

According to congressional sources, the architects of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that seeks to stop the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, have agreed to grant the surveillance giant temporary abilities to continue monitoring foreign targets who enter the US while agents seek domestic warrants; and to permit the agency to do the same for domestic targets for whom it has a probable-cause warrant who subsequently travel overseas.

Both additions, discussed for weeks but intensified in the past several days, were described as measures to gain support from pro-surveillance legislators on the House intelligence committee. Another such gesture included in the bill, unrelated to surveillance, would increase the maximum penalty for people lending material support to terrorism from 15 years to 20. The concessions were said to have come on behalf of the NSA, rather than from the NSA itself.

Advocates of the much-delayed USA Freedom Act now expect the bill to be reintroduced on Thursday ahead of a short congressional recess, the culmination of nine weeks of backroom negotiations.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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