Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wiretap Bill Moves Closer to Passage Wiretap Bill Moves Closer to Passage

WaPo: Wiretap Bill Moves Closer to Passage
Last-minute changes to legislation authorizing the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program have won the support of three balking Senate Republicans, improving the chances that a bill expanding the Bush administration's surveillance authority will pass Congress this week.
I think that the Senate changes are more significant than critics are suggesting. In particular:
The lawmakers say a third change is aimed at ensuring that warrantless surveillance of an agent of a foreign power does not include an American. Under the change, the lawmakers said, the administration would be expected to obtain a warrant if the attorney general cannot certify a "reasonable expectation" that the warrantless surveillance will not involve a U.S. citizen.
I would have to see the actual wording here, but part of the problem with FISA right now is that targetting is irrelevant when the surveilance is w/i the U.S., and this would seem to retain that - but limit it to most likely "U.S. Persons", i.e., those here legally. The Senate bill prior to this appeared to apply the 1801(f)(1) standards to surveilance whether or not it was done w/i the U.S., and this meant that a warrant would be required if a U.S. person in the U.S. is targetted and surveiled. The proposal would appear to drop the "targetted" aspect of that.

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