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McCain Amends Water Resource Bill To Expand FBI Surveillance

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona introduced an amendment that would grant the FBI extensive surveillance powers during deliberations over a bill pertaining to American water supplies Monday.

The legislation is intended to help solve water problems that have arisen from incidences like the one in Flint, Michigan, but McCain capitalized on the bill to amplify U.S. law enforcement’s spying capacity.

McCain proposed Amendment 5037, Section 80 called “Counterintelligence Access To Telephone Toll And Transactional Records.” It’s one of 88 proposed to the Water Resources Development Act of 2016.

The modification would give the Director of the FBI the power to request information and records pertaining to personally identifiable information. Such data includes, but is not limited to, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, login history, “means and sources of payment for services (including any card or bank account information),” internet protocol addresses, routing or transmission information, and “session times and durations for an electronic communication.”

But according to the official Congressional Research Service summary, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 is intended to revise and set forth requirements for the following:

“Reservoirs operations, flood risks, water supply, droughts, flood gate operations, harbor deepening, dredging, harbors of refuge, emerging harbors, donor ports, energy transfer ports, hurricane and storm damage reduction projects and safety restorations, a recovery plan for Gulf Coast oyster beds, ecosystem restoration projects, sediment management, and soil moisture and snowpack monitoring.”

Most importantly, the bill mandates that public water systems must inform customers of lead levels in drinking water if they exceed a set amount.

The bill also reauthorizes several other pieces of legislation and projects, including the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Water Desalination Act of 1996 through Fiscal Year 2021.

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