FISA Section 702’s Challenging Passage to Reauthorization in 2023

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George Croner details the history, structure, legal requirements, and intelligence value of the Section 702 surveillance program and explains why the reauthorization of Section 702 is both perpetually challenging—and particularly challenging in 2023.

Croner identifies the most likely criticisms of Section 702 and examines the sources and merits of these critiques including in light of past congressional actions, FISA court opinions, Supreme Court jurisprudence, executive branch oversight, Intelligence community procedures, multinational data privacy efforts, and the FBI’s compliance problems.

Accordingly, Croner proposes examples of circumscribed solutions, such as limiting the FBI’s use of Section 702-derived information and USP query terms that would not compromise Section 702’s foreign intelligence value.

By George Croner

George W. Croner is a Senior Fellow in the Program on National Security at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and serves on the Advisory Council to the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law (CERL) at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former principal litigation counsel in the Office of General Counsel at the National Security Agency, a 1975 graduate (with distinction) of the U.S. Naval Academy, and a 1980 graduate (with honors) of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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