Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is one of the nation’s most critical intelligence tools used to protect the homeland and the American people. Thanks to intelligence obtained under this authority, the United States has been able to understand and respond to threats posed by the People’s Republic of China, rally the world against Russian atrocities in Ukraine, locate and eliminate terrorists intent on causing harm to America, enable the disruption of fentanyl trafficking, mitigate the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, and much more.
With Section 702 set to expire on December 31, 2023, absent renewal, the President asked the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) to conduct a review of the effectiveness of Section 702 collection and oversight and to provide recommendations as to potential reforms. In order to inform ongoing discussions about Section 702‘s reauthorization, today the Biden-Harris administration is publicly releasing, in unclassified form, the vast majority of the report delivered to the President by the PIAB.
We agree with the unanimous conclusion reached by this group of independent, deeply experienced experts that failure to reauthorize Section 702 could be “one of the worst intelligence failures of our time.” We also agree with the Board’s recommendation that Section 702 should be reauthorized without new and operationally damaging restrictions on reviewing intelligence lawfully collected by the government and with measures that build on proven reforms to enhance compliance and oversight, among other improvements. We look forward to reviewing the Board’s recommendations for how we can secure this critical national security authority and to working with Congress to ensure its reauthorization.
Read the full report here.