The FISA Amendments Act, passed in 2008 and reauthorized in 2012, gives the National Security Agency almost unchecked power to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and emails. On October 29, 2012, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the ACLU’s challenge to the law. In February 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit.
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.
- How the NSA’s Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans’ Privacy: An ACLU fact sheet explaining what the Guardian disclosures show about how the NSA is implementing the FAA.
- ACLU letter and surveillance coalition letter to the Senate urging “NO” vote on a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act
- FISA needs oversight, amendment before reauthorization: A recent op-ed from Michelle Richardson
- May 2012 House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on 2008 FISA Amendments Act: ACLU prepared testimony and video of hearing
- Amnesty v. Clapper, the ACLU’s constitutional challenge to the 2008 FISA Amendments Act
- ACLU v. DOJ, the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act suit for information about the use and abuse of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act
- ACLU letter and surveillance coalition letter to the House of Representatives urging “NO” vote on a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act
- Backgrounder: Why the 2008 FISA Amendments Act is unconstitutional
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