Congress isn't done trying to limit the National Security Agency's powers.
Just a week after Congress passed the USA Freedom Act to overhaul the NSA's phone records program, the House approved a measure Thursday to defund two "backdoor" spying programs. Lawmakers attached the provision to a Defense appropriations bill in a 255-174 vote.
"The USA Freedom Act is not the last word on surveillance reform," said Rep. Thomas Massie, the Kentucky Republican who sponsored the amendment. The spying programs are, he said, "arguably worse than the bulk collection of phone records."
The NSA has acknowledged that it sometimes spies on Americans' communications under a legal authority intended to apply only to foreigners. The NSA scoops up vast batches of emails, text messages, and other data from foreigners and then searches through that database, specifically looking for Americans' communications.
The amendment would require that the NSA obtain a warrant before reading Americans' private messages. The measure would also close another controversial NSA backdoor by cutting off funds for projects to build vulnerabilities into security products. The NSA exploits those vulnerabilities to hack into and spy on communications.