Washington Markup

House to Vote on FISA Amendments Act Wednesday

House to Vote on FISA Amendments Act Wednesday

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:39pm
It’s back. On Wednesday the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a five-year reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), the 2008 law that legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and more. It permits the government to get year-long orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications—including phone calls, emails, and internet records—for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence.  The orders need not specify who is going to be spied on or even allege that the targets did anything wrong.  The only guarantees that the FAA gives are that no specific American will be targeted for wiretapping and that some (classified) rules about the use of intercepted information will be followed.
FBI Interrogation Primer Encourages Prisoner Isolation

FBI Interrogation Primer Encourages Prisoner Isolation

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:31am

Today, the ACLU released a 2011 FBI “primer” on overseas interrogation that calls into question whether the FBI is adhering to its own policy prohibiting coercive techniques. The 2011 primer was obtained by the ACLU and colleague organizations…

CISPA: It Ain't Cyber-Pretty

CISPA: It Ain't Cyber-Pretty

By Zachary Katznelson, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 12:38pm

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debating the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, authored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). In the name of cybersecurity, the legislation threatens…

It's Official: NSA Wants to Suck up All Americans’ Phone Records

It's Official: NSA Wants to Suck up All Americans’ Phone Records

By Robyn Greene, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:58pm

The NSA has officially stopped sugar coating the fact that it wants to spy on every American.

At yesterday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on FISA legislation, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked NSA director, Gen. Keith Alexander, whether…

Nation’s Top Spies Still Mum on How Many Americans They’ve Surveilled

Nation’s Top Spies Still Mum on How Many Americans They’ve Surveilled

By Robyn Greene, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

Last month I wrote about how Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been rebuffed in his multi-year effort to get answers to very basic questions about how the government uses the sweeping authorities granted under the FISA Amendments Act (FISA).

Wyden…

At DADT Repeal’s One-Year Anniversary, Refusing to Turn Back the Clock

At DADT Repeal’s One-Year Anniversary, Refusing to Turn Back the Clock

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:09am

This Thursday, September 20, marks one year since the discriminatory policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) finally came to an end, opening the door to service in the Armed Forces to individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

Sen. Franken To File Crucial Amendment to Cyber Bill

Sen. Franken To File Crucial Amendment to Cyber Bill

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:28pm

Last week, we gave you a quick rundown of the new privacy additions to S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.  Also known as the Lieberman-Collins bill, this legislation provides comprehensive cybersecurity reform. 

Read More»
Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:21pm

As the election summer heats up, Republicans in Congress are making hay with what they claim are selective leaks by the Obama administration, designed to bolster the president’s national security cred. At a Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday,…

Members of Congress Urge Investigation of FBI Muslim Surveillance

Members of Congress Urge Investigation of FBI Muslim Surveillance

By Devon Chaffee, Legislative Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:37am

Yesterday 22 Members of Congress sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice urging him to launch an investigation into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's improper recording and dissemination of information about the First…

FISA Amendments Act is Back

FISA Amendments Act is Back

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:28am

Remember the George W. Bush warrantless wiretapping program? The one that was so illegal that Congress had to pass a special law to ensure that no one was prosecuted for it or sued by their customers for facilitating it? And was found by independent…