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Don't hobble America's anti-terrorism capabilities

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Washington Examiner

Don't hobble America's anti-terrorism capabilities

by Rep. Jim Banks

Since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, there have been more than 100 terror plots on American soil. Just last month, a would-be suicide bomber detonated a pipe bomb in a New York City subway station, an attempted attack inspired by ISIS. As threats to our nation continue to rise, our government has an obligation to use every available tool to protect the American people.

Later this week, the House of Representatives will vote on whether to reauthorize an important counterterrorism program set to expire later this month. Without congressional action, our intelligence community will not be able to use this irreplaceable tool that protects our nation and prevents future terrorist attacks.

Due to changes in communications technology in the 30 years after FISA was enacted in 1978, Congress recognized that the intelligence community was having to obtain probable cause orders to conduct electronic surveillance even on foreign terrorists outside the United States (i.e. individuals not afforded Fourth Amendment protections). To rectify this problem, Congress enacted the FISA Amendments Act in 2008, which added Section 702 to FISA. The program authorizes the collection of foreign intelligence information of non-U.S. people located overseas.

This program has been incredibly successful in the United States’ counterterrorism efforts worldwide. For example, it was the primary means by which the former number two commander of ISIS, Hajji Iman, was tracked and removed from the battlefield. The U.S. government spent two years trying to locate him, and even offered a $7 million reward for information on his whereabouts. Data collected under Section 702, which targeted Iman’s associates, was a critical development because it allowed for our surveillance on the ground to track Iman and ultimately remove him from the battlefield.

Read more: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dont-hobble-americas-anti-terrorism-capabilities/article/2645511