The bill’s inclusion of language that would bar the relatively independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board from investigating the links between the NSA’s surveillance programs and covert actions prompted a barrage of amendments to the bill. While originally scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to decide on whether to approve any of the amendments submitted, the GOP majority abruptly cancelled the Rules Committee meeting, possibly partly in response to the controversy over the attempt to limit the PCLOB’s oversight activities.
Another flashpoint is the attempt by Rep. Thomas Massie (R‐Ky.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D‐Calif.) to reprise their success last year in moving through the House a provision that would prevent the government from conducting warrantless searches of American’s stored communications under Sec. 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. That same amendment would bar the government from mandating that American tech companies build in encryption back doors. A version was successfully attached to the Fiscal Year 2016 Defense Department appropriations bill yesterday by a vote of 255 to 174, but the Intel Auth version would make the provisions permanent.