Surveillance

Activists Dismayed at Suveillance Bill's Renewal

Transparency and oversight rejected

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Civil rights campaigners voiced dismay on Friday over the US Senate's re-authorization of the government's warrantless surveillance program, and the defeat of two amendments that would have provided for basic oversight of the eavesdropping.

The Senate voted 73-23 to extend the law, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act, for five years. The House of Representatives has already passed the measure, which President Obama has said he will sign.

But while the program was extended as expected, campaigners saw a silver lining in that the vote was closer than when the legislation was first introduced in 2008.

"We're incredibly disappointed, not just that it passed, but that they rejected some very moderate amendments that wouldn't have interfered with the collection of intelligence," said Michelle Richardson, an ACLU expert on surveillance issues.