TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008:• Introduced a number of added oversight and reporting requirementsstipulating that Congress play a more active role in reviewing the government’suse of FISA. As a result of the amendment, relevant Senateand House committees will receive from the Attorney General a semiannualreport on electronically surveilled targets. 13• Strengthened the FISA court’s role in protecting US citizens’ privacyat home and abroad. The FISA amendment prohibited the US governmentfrom invoking war powers or other authorities to supersedesurveillance rules in the future.• Protected telecommunication companies that had cooperated withthe warrantless surveillance program from litigation.• Relaxed requirements to provide detailed descriptions of surveillancetargets and increased the government’s ability to conduct warrantlesssurveillance timelines to 72 hours under exigent circumstances. 14The USA-PATRIOT Act (2001, reauthorized in 2005)The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate ToolsRequired to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (aka the USA-PATRIOT Act) was passed shortly after 9/11 and was designed to facilitateintelligence collection and sharing within the Intelligence Community, particularlywithin US borders and by law enforcement agencies.• The Act increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to searchrecords, eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering in the USand extended the definition of ‘terrorism’ to include domestic terrorism.For instance, the FBI used a USA-PATRIOT Act-sanctionedtactic colloquially known as a ‘sneak and peek’ to break into al Qaedaoperative Najibullah Zazi’s car in New York City. As a result of doingso, the FBI discovered he had bomb-making recipes on his laptop. 15• The Act authorized ‘roving wiretaps’ which enable authorities to trackall communication associated with an individual or group instead ofa particular number—that is, to track all email, text, and even dis-14 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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