The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) permits the physical and electronic surveillance of “foreign intelligence information between foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.” FISA was amended in 2008 to allow the government to conduct surveillance of “a U.S. person located outside of the U.S. with probable cause they are an agent of a foreign power.â€ It also provided immunity from lawsuits to telecommunication companies assisting in these investigations. FISA authorized the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The FISA court oversees requests from the FBI and other federal police agencies for surveillance warrants against those suspected of spying or plotting against us. These law enforcement requests are presented to the FISA court in national security letters (NSL). By law, NSLs can only request non-content information, such as transactional records, telephone numbers dialed, and sender or recipient email addresses. NSLs may also contain a gag order that prevents the recipients of these letters, including telecom companies and Internet service providers, from disclosing the existence of these requests. However, it has recently been revealed that the FISA Court has been signing off on domestic surveillance and data collection programs targeting law-abiding American citizens. These programs have occurred with little knowledge or input from anyone outside the White House. The court itself operates in secrecy and answers only to the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court, who also appoints all 11 judges that serve on the FISA court. Supporters of these surveillance programs say they are necessary to protect us against terrorists. Opponents claim the FISA court has overstepped the original intent of this 1978 law which contained no provision for data-mining or spying on law-abiding Americans. They say our civil liberties are being trampled without due process. They also say this court needs an adversarial process to insure impartiality in its decisions. They claim there is no one opposing law enforcement when it goes to the FISA court to request permission for a surveillance project. They call FISA â€œthe court that never says noâ€ and claim it should be held civilly liable for illegally intercepting the communications of law-abiding citizens.
S.1215 – FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013
H.R.2586 – FISA Court Accountability Act
I oppose reforming current Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court policy and wish to defeat S.1215 and H.R.2586
I support repealing the 2008 FISA Amendments Act by advancing its sunset date to June 1, 2015; requiring law enforcement to present a statement of facts and circumstances showing reasonable grounds to believe that the records sought are relevant to an investigation; giving entities who are required to produce records or information subject to a nondisclosure order the right to challenge the order without waiting one year; removing the presumption in favor of the government to seal orders; requiring the publication of an unclassified report on the impact of these uses on the privacy of U.S. citizens; requiring the Inspector General to conduct audits of Section 215 orders, NSLs and other surveillance authorized under the Patriot Act, and wish to pass S.1215
I support allowing the leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives appoint Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges; requiring a 60% majority vote of FISA Court judges to pass FISC decisions; requiring pro-government decisions of the FISA Court of Review to be unanimous; requiring classified and unclassified versions of FISA Court decisions and opinions be provided to the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and wish to pass H.R.2586