White House lets NSA's warrantless surveillance continue until April

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act's Section 702, which authorizes the NSA's warrantless data gathering, is supposed to expire on New Year's Eve. Don't tell that to the White House, though. Lawyers for the executive branch have determined that FISA Section 702 surveillance can legally continue until April 26th, 2018. The rationale comes down to a technicality. As the FISA Amendments Act says orders issued under 702 can continue for a year, and the last year-long certification was issued on April 26th, 2017... well, you do the math.

If the argument holds up, it'll please officials worried that surveillance will either have to stop or continue on dubious legal grounds. That's entirely possible when Congress is currently focused on pushing through its tax plan, and might not significantly advance House or Senate bills renewing Section 702 until the new year. An extension could give them months to prepare for the possibility that the program might wind down, which would push them to conduct more targeted espionage.Whether ...