US President Donald Trump said in a statement he has signed a bill that reauthorizes a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) but stressed it was not the same law abused during the election.
"By reauthorizing Section 702 collection, the bill avoids proposed limitations on the United States intelligence community's authorities to collect information important for identifying and countering foreign threats", he told Cipher brief.
"Intelligence produced under this authority is vital to keeping the nation safe".
"In his tweet announcing that he has just signed the bill, Trump wrote: "This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election".
But the broader surveillance law, which governs USA spying on foreigners, has become politically entangled with the controversy over the federal investigation into Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. "I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!"
On Jan. 16, the Senate voted 60-38 to invoke cloture on the bill, effectively ending debate and moving forward with a vote. "This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?"
That assertion briefly threw the fate of the bill into doubt until White House officials later clarified that the president still supports the renewal of the surveillance provisions, known as Section 702.
But as the bill made its way to Trump's desk Friday, House Intelligence Committee Republicans produced a four-page memo that had some saying it was evidence the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump during the campaign.
The US government has been highly criticized for secretly collecting phone and online data on US and foreign citizens, following the 2013 leaks by the intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.