The U.S. Intelligence Community relies on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in the constant hunt for information about foreign adversaries determined to harm the nation or our allies. The National Security Agency, for example, uses this law to uncover the identities or plans of terrorists.
In a time of increasing cyber threats, Section 702 also informs the Intelligence Community's cybersecurity efforts.
This law has played both a unique and decisive role in national defense.
Last year a foreign attack resulted in the deaths of more than 20 people. Who was behind it? Had they also taught others how to carry out such malicious acts? It was NSA's Section 702 collection that revealed the identities of the overseas terrorists who were responsible.
This collection provided the necessary insights and reporting on the attack that refuted the terrorist organization's denial of any involvement. Specifically, Section 702 collection provided a direct claim of responsibility from the terror group's leaders and included a list of terrorists trained for the operation. This was crucial for supporting timely U.S. and coalition force planning and operations against terrorists in the region.
NSA's contribution to the fight probably hadn't been factored into the adversaries' schemes.
Without Congressional reauthorization, Section 702 will expire on Dec. 31.
Adm. Michael S. Rogers – Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and NSA Director – has emphasized that this law is an absolutely essential tool to help secure both our nation and allies.