New law that modifies FISA was passed this weekend.
The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency’s ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals “reasonably believed to be outside the United States.” Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congress.
The bill updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. It gives the government leeway to intercept, without warrants, communications between foreigners that are routed through equipment in United States, provided that “foreign intelligence information” is at stake. Bush describes the effort as an anti-terrorist program, but the bill is not limited to terror suspects and could have wider applications, some lawmakers said.
The government long has had substantial powers to intercept purely foreign communications that don’t touch U.S. soil.
If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court.
I especially “liked” this:
“It does nothing to tear up the Constitution,” said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.
If an American’s communications are swept up in surveillance of a foreigner, he said, “we go through a process called minimization” and get rid of the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a threat.
So we’ll listen – without a warrant – but we’ll throw the records away if we don’t find anything. Gee, that’s swell. OhDave has a suggestion on how to help convince our Congressional delegation to not fold in the face of a threatened veto. Make your voices heard.
The Senate roll call is unavailable officially, but we know Brown voted against this bill, and Voinovich for it. Here are the members of Ohio’s House delegation to vote for the bill (roll call 836): Chabot, Schmidt, Turner, Jordan, Gillmor, Wilson, Hobson, Boehner, Tiberi, LaTourette, Pryce, Regula, Space.
Kaptur, Kucinich, Jones, Sutton, and Ryan were the only Ohioans willing to stare down Bush.