Senate Rejects Attempt To Expand Secret Court’s Oversight

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — The Senate has rejected an attempt to expand a secret court’s oversight of government eavesdropping, sticking instead with a surveillance bill favored by the White House.

The bill would have strengthened the oversight powers of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It would have given the court the authority to monitor and enforce how the government protects the identities of innocent Americans whose communications may be inadvertently collected.

The Senate is grappling with a bill written by the Senate Intelligence Committee to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The law, first enacted in 1978, dictates when federal agents must obtain court permission before tapping phone and computer lines inside the United States to gather intelligence on foreign threats. Agents may tap lines outside the country without court oversight.