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Garland and Haines Send Letter to Congress Urging Section 702 Reauthorization

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 1:29 PM

The attorney general and director of national intelligence co-authored a letter to congressi

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On Feb. 28, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines sent a letter to minority and majority leaders of both the House and Senate urging reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), set to expire at the end of this year.

Garland and Haines described reauthorization as a “top legislative priority” for the Biden administration and a “critical authority” for the intelligence community. “It has also become clear there is no way to replicate Section 702’s speed, reliability, specificity, and insight,” they wrote. The letter coincided with a White House statement from National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stating the administration’s strong support for reauthorization.

For more Lawfare coverage on Section 702 reauthorization, visit our topic page here and listen to Editor in Chief Benjamin Wittes and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to secure congressional reauthorization of the statute.

You can read both Garland and Haines’ letter and Sullivan’s statement below:

February 28, 2023

Statement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Biden-⁠Harris Administration’s Support for the Reauthorization of Vital Intelligence Collection Authorities

The Biden-Harris Administration strongly supports the reauthorization by Congress of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a vital intelligence collection authority, which the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence conveyed today in a joint letter to congressional leadership.  Section 702 has proven a cornerstone of U.S. national security. This authority is an invaluable tool that continues to protect Americans every day and is crucial to ensuring that U.S. defense, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies can respond to threats from the People’s Republic of China, Russia, nefarious cyber actors, terrorists, and those who seek to harm our critical infrastructure.

Reauthorization of Section 702 and other expiring FISA provisions is a top priority for the Administration. I have asked Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer to coordinate the reauthorization effort for the White House, in close partnership with the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other federal partners, as we engage constructively with the Congress to preserve this essential tool for protecting the United States

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