By Luis Bravo
Luis Bravo is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania studying Sociology.
Consistent with Trump’s campaign promise to place “America First,” the Office of Management and Budget released its plan to reduce international foreign assistance by 32%, amounting to roughly 13.5 billion dollars. When examined up close, these numbers are even more staggering, revealing a 25% reduction to the administration’s office for AIDS relief, a 68% loss in funding for the Bureau for Food Security, and a 94.5% cut for the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.  Though the United States has prided itself on being the largest provider of international aid, it has always lagged far behind in comparison to other industrialized nations relative to the national GDP.  These latest measures further display the United States’ commitment to distance itself from the international community, demonstrating a growing reluctance to continue sending aid to developing nations. In light of America’s isolationism, other countries such as China are stepping in to assume the void America is leaving behind.
By Bryce Klehm
Bryce Klehm is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying History.
On December 31, 2017, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will be subject to congressional reauthorization. Section 702 allows the government to intercept various communications of foreigners located outside of the United States. It is mostly used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to gather signals intelligence on terrorist threats. The House Intelligence Committee claims it does not allow bulk collection targeting Americans.  The intelligence and law enforcement agencies may only use Section 702 with the approval of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The House Intelligence Committee views its as crucial in tracking and finding various terrorists, including the recently deceased ISIS leader, Haji Iman.
The controversy regarding its renewal centers on a loophole in Section 702, which allows for “backdoor” searches of electronic communications data. Using the “backdoor search” loophole, various government agencies can query the data collected under FISA and gather information about US citizens “accidentally” swept in.  For example, if the FBI is looking for evidence on a domestic target, they can search the communication data collected by the NSA. If it contains communications by a U.S. target to a foreign target, the agency is free to use the data as evidence. Indeed, the Supreme Court has recently seen an increase in the number of cases pertaining to digital privacy and Section 702.