U.S. Spy Chiefs Say Expiring Program Is Key to Stopping Threats

Top U.S. national security officials on Friday called on Congress to quickly renew a counterterrorism program that lets intelligence agencies intercept the communications of tens of thousands of suspected foreign terrorists living abroad.

“It has become an indispensable tool by which we can determine and game information about threats to the United States, about threats to our troops, about weapons of mass destruction, proliferation, about cyberattacks, about any number of things that threaten the American way and the American people,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Friday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. “So the reauthorization of this authority in incredibly critical.”

The government’s authority to use the program expires at the end of December unless it’s reauthorized by Congress, where some members want stricter limits on information that’s picked up about U.S. citizens.

Coats, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and FBI Director Christopher Wray were all scheduled to defend the program at the Heritage Foundation event.

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