Congress is currently considering whether to renew the FISA Amendments Act, a law that gives the National Security Agency almost unchecked power to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and emails. On October 29th, the Supreme Court hears arguments in the ACLU’s challenge to the law.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted by Congress after the abuses of the 1960s and 70s, regulates the government’s conduct of intelligence surveillance inside the United States. It generally requires the government to seek warrants before monitoring Americans’ communications. In 2001, however, President Bush authorized the NSA to launch a warrantless wiretapping program, and in 2008 Congress ratified and expanded that program.
Less than an hour after President Bush signed the 2008 amendments, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality. Because the 2008 amendments are scheduled to sunset in December, the ACLU is also calling on Congress to Fix FISA by prohibiting dragnet surveillance, mandating more transparency about the government’s surveillance activities, and strengthening safeguards for privacy. Tell your member of the Senate to Fix FISA.