Share Opinion This article first appeared on Just Security. As the New Year’s deadline for reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) approaches, current and former government officials are waging a public relations campaign against bipartisan reform efforts needed to protect the rights of innocent Americans. Unfortunately, these attacks are rife with misleading statements and omissions that require correction. Here are a few of those false assertions, along with the facts: Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Myth 1: Section 702 is fundamentally a counterterrorism program Predictably, proponents of unchecked surveillance authorities emphasize the surveillance of terrorist suspects. In fact, Section 702 permits the government to spy on foreigners who possess, are expected to receive or are likely to communicate “foreign intelligence information,” which has a very broad definition in law. Those who oppose reform of Section 702 want Americans to believe their communications can’t be collected if they are not communicating with terrorists. They would rather Americans not stop and imagine everyone whom the government could be surveilling under these almost boundless authorities. Myth2 : This debate is all about the FBI’s access to 702 data on terrorist suspects Because the FBI is responsible for stopping terrorist attacks in the United States, proponents of warrantless backdoor searches have focused on the Bureau. But the CIA and NSA also conduct backdoor searches for Americans – more than five thousand searches for the content of Americans’ communications and more than 30,000 for metadata. Opponents of reform also fail to mention that the FBI’s backdoor searches, which it refuses to even count, can be conducted for evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence unrelated to terrorism, or that the results of those searches can be used by the government for purposes that have nothing to do with national security. Sameer Uddin and Michelle Macias play Pokemon Go on their smartphones, July 11, 2016 in New York City. Drew Angerer/Getty Myth 3: Backdoor searches of 702 data are the only way to find out whether a