In July 2008, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008, giving the National Security Agency (NSA) virtually limitless power to spy on Americans. This controversial piece of legislation not only effectively legalized the secret warrantless surveillance program that President Bush had authorized in late 2001, it gave the NSA new power to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international telephone calls and e-mails en masse, without a warrant, without suspicion of any kind, and with only very limited judicial oversight. Learn more about the FAA >>
In June 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to enforce a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to government agencies’ implementation of the invasive FAA surveillance power. Our request seeks information about how the FAA spying power is being interpreted and used, how many Americans are affected, and what safeguards are in place to prevent abuse of Americans’ privacy rights. In response to that request, the government released over 900 pages of records to the ACLU on November 29, 2010. View the documents here >>
The ACLU has also filed a lawsuit challenging the FAA’s constitutionality. The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether plaintiffs represented by the ACLU have the right to challenge the constitutionality of the law after the Obama administration appealed a decision ruling that the case, Amnesty v. Clapper, could go forward.