Posted by 11 May 2020
This week, senators are taking up legislation to reauthorize and change some of the procedures for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.
The process for obtaining intelligence under FISA has been under scrutiny by allies of President Trump. The FBI used this process to obtain warrants to monitor members of the Trump campaign, and a recent report has illustrated numerous problems with that warrant.
HB 6172 reauthorizes the FISA court through 2023. Here is how VoteSpotter describes the bill:
To renew provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that permit the federal government to collect business records and other information during national security investigations without a warrant. The FISA law allows a federal judge to approve such collections without notifying the target or hearing opposing arguments. The bill would also to expand the circumstances that require FISA judges to hear from a government-appointed critic of such requests, and increasing the number of FISA courts.
The changes contained in this legislation do not go far enough for some senators, though. They argue that the process for the FISA courts tilts too heavily towards the government, and that abuses would still be too easy to commit. This bipartisan group plans on offering amendments that would limit the collection of Internet usage history as well as strengthen the role of outside experts to challenge requests for surveillance.
The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 278-136 in March.
Do you think the federal government has too much power to conduct surveillance and collect information under the FISA process?