The House of Representatives sent a strong message to the National Security Agency via the power of the purse strings Thursday night. By 293 to 123, the House voted in favor of an amendment that would cut funding for NSA “backdoor searches,” the warrantless collection and search of Americans’ emails, and browsing and chat history. “Backdoor searches” are allowed under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) sponsored an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill specifying U.S. government funds could not finance the practice. A companion amendment would still need to be approved by the Senate before it could become law. Still, the effort makes for a powerful NSA pushback after last month’s largely weak attempt to reform the agency’s policies.
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