Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Kevin Drumm's FISA Update

So hard to keep track on the Hydra headed mendacity of the Bushies. But we must.


I'm still confused about a number of things, but as near as I can tell here's the state of play on the NSA's domestic spying program:
  1. The administration has acknowledged that the NSA program violated the FISA act. However, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales argues that the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed shortly after 9/11, superseded FISA.
  2. Yesterday, General Michael Hayden said that the reason they had to bypass FISA was because it required a showing of 'probable cause' that the target of a wiretap request was a foreign power (i.e., either a terrorist organization or a foreign state). That standard was apparently too difficult to meet in many cases.
  3. As Glenn Greenwald reports today, in 2002 congressman Mike DeWine introduced an amendment to FISA that would have retained probable cause as the standard for U.S. persons (i.e., citizens or foreigners with permanent residency) but lowered it to 'reasonable suspicion' for non-U.S. persons.
  4. Congress refused to pass DeWine's amendment. This makes it plain that Congress did not intend for AUMF to loosen the restrictions of FISA.

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