Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The foreign intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) spells out procedures for the surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information.” Section 1822 allows for warrantless eavesdropping for up to a year if the president certifies that such surveillance is directed at a foreign power, or the agent of one, and that there is minimal likelihood U.S. citizens will be monitored. In light of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and because of changing technology, FISA needed revisions, but, initially, President Bush decided to ignore rather than seek to amend the law. Beginning in 2002, he secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mail messages of thousands of Americans. The NSA persuaded several telecommunications companies to assist it in this warrantless process, claiming that it was legal. But under the clear provisions of FISA and the Fourth Amendment, that appears not to be the case. U.S. citizens who have evidence that their communications were monitored sued some telecoms. The government sought to intervene and dismiss, claiming that the program, and reasons for deeming it legal, are subject to the state secrets privilege. The president, most recently in a Feb. 28 news conference, has urged Congress to include an immunity provision for these companies in pending legislation to amend FISA. The Senate’s version does, but the House’s does not. If the telecoms did not break the law, there’s no need for an immunity provision. If they did, the suits could provide recourse to those whose privacy was violated and inform the American people of the extent of the illegality. That is how the rule of law operates. FISA can be amended as needed to safeguard our security without the provision. The House should hold firm.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.