Jun 27, 2017

Russia probe frames Senate hearing on surveillance law

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

The ongoing Russia probe framed the Senate Judiciary Committee's routine hearing to re-up Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a law that allows U.S. surveillance of foreigners as a counterterrorism strategy.

Why it matters: Prominent Republicans have raised concerns about parts of Section 702 in light of leaks that prompted the Russia probe. Sen. Lindsey Graham alluded to Michael Flynn's downfall at the hearing and asked point blank: Did you monitor my conversations?

Sen. Dick Durbin expressed concerns that the NSA said it could not provide a count of how many people are being watched. "How are we supposed to believe that transparency is really the guiding principle?" Durbin asked.

One of the most controversial parts of Section 702 is how the NSA records conversations about foreign agents. Earlier this year, the NSA announced it was stopping some "about" collection. But the NSA's Paul Morris said he was "nervous" about legally amending the "about" collection.

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Black Americans' competing crises

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

For many black Americans, this moment feels like a crisis within a crisis within a crisis.

The big picture: It's not just George Floyd's killing by police. Or the deaths of EMT Breonna Taylor and jogger Ahmaud Arbery. Or the demeaning of birdwatcher Christian Cooper and journalist Omar Jimenez. Or the coronavirus pandemic's disproportionate harm to African Americans. It's that it's all happening at once.

Amnesty International: U.S. police must end militarized response to protests

Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International issued a statement on Sunday morning calling for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of "excessive force" against demonstrators protesting police brutality.

Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."

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Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country

Protestors rally in Minneapolis. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Health experts fear that massive protests against police brutality in major cities around the United States could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has already recorded more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world. A potential surge in cases stemming from the protests would come as many states are weeks into their phased reopening plans.