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 Attorney General has an extended period during which he canapprove surveillance without a warrant in emergency situations.• Congress granted telecommunications service providers immunityfrom prosecution for cooperating with government surveillance programs,as long as they received written government assurances aboutthe legality of their cooperation from the government. 78• Relevant Senate and House committees will receive from the AttorneyGeneral a semi-annual report on FISA-based targets. 79 In general,Congress included a number of added oversight and reporting requirementsin order to play a more active role in reviewing the government’suse of FISA warrants. 80Roving WiretapsOne of the most controversial provisions of the USA-PATRIOT Act has beenthe authorization of the use of the electronic surveillance tool called the ‘rovingwiretap.’ Unlike a traditional ‘wiretap’ where a single line of communication,such as a phone line, is monitored, 81 a roving wiretap follows communicationassociated with a suspect or suspect instead of a specific number. It hasbeen used with increasing frequency in recent years in response to advances incommunications systems, as suspects will routinely utilize multiple electronicmeans to communicate in an attempt to evade surveillance. A roving wiretapallows authorities to track each new means of communication instead of applyingfor a new warrant each time.Roving wiretaps were originally used to target organized criminal syndicates,and are governed under Title III of The Omnibus Crime Control and SafeStreets Act of 1968 and its subsequent 1986 amendment, The Electronic CommunicationsPrivacy Act. This power was only expanded to include surveillanceof international terrorist suspects under the FISC’s authority; however,following 9/11, it became a new legal authority provided to US officials by theUSA-PATRIOT Act.Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Harvard Kennedy School51

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