Trump officials urge reauthorization of NSA surveillance program

The Trump administration is urging Congress to reauthorize the National Security Agency’s (NSA) authority to collect phone record information on millions of Americans, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.

Dan Coats, the departing director of national intelligence (DNI), in a letter to senators dated Wednesday urged Congress to reauthorize all provisions in the USA Freedom Act, a controversial law that is set to expire later this year.

Top Republicans on the key committees overseeing the reauthorization of the law are likely to follow DNI’s lead.

“I write to express the support of the Intelligence Community (IC) and Administration for the permanent reauthorization of the provisions of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that are currently set to expire in December,” Coats wrote in the letter, which was addressed to the top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Intelligence Committee.

“These provisions provide the [intelligence community] with key national security authorities, and we look forward to working with the Congress on their permanent reauthorization,” Coats added.

The administration’s input comes as Congress braces for a battle over the reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act, which gives the government a broad range of surveillance authorities.

In the letter, Coats confirmed that the NSA has shuttered the call records program, the most contested provision of the law. But he said the government should retain its authority to restart the program if needed.