House Republicans on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to fund a secretive surveillance program that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) called the “largest and most intrusive domestic program in American history.”
The bill, which was approved on a 233-189 vote, would pay for the program, known as Section 702, through an annual appropriations bill.
It is one of several programs authorized by Congress under a 2008 law that allowed the NSA to monitor and track international communications, and it was widely criticized for being used by the agency to collect Americans’ phone records.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the top Republican on the committee, said the surveillance program “will not be used to undermine our national security or undermine civil liberties.”
“The program is not intended to gather foreign intelligence, but instead to gather information about American citizens in the United States,” Sensenbrunner wrote.
“We are very disappointed with this decision by Congress, which is clearly in the pocket of the intelligence community,” he said.
“We urge you to reject this unconstitutional, wasteful, and dangerous program and work to repeal it.”