FISA

Ken Lund / Ben Balter (background)

First passed in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) still guides the physical and electronic surveillance of foreign powers and agents. Congress has repeatedly amended the law, however, seeking to calibrate the government’s surveillance to accord with the level of threat and seeking to keep authorities current as technology develops at breakneck speed. Nevertheless, even authorized activities affirmatively permitted by statute have come under fire as a torrent of leaks have revealed government surveillance programs under the statute.

Latest in FISA

Federal Law Enforcement

The Mueller Report and ‘National Security Investigations and Prosecutions’

When Doug Wilson and I set out to write the first edition of “National Security Investigations and Prosecutions” (NSIP), the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were still recent, George W. Bush was in his first term as president of the United States, Vladimir Putin was in his first term as the leader of Russia, Robert Mueller was director of the FBI and Lawfare was not even a gleam in its founders’ eyes.

FISA

Summary: Recent Rulings by the FISC and FISCR

On Oct. 8, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified two opinions released by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR) relating to the FBI’s use of information collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Congress

The House Judiciary Committee’s FISA Oversight Hearing: An Overview

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Sept. 18 on oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), examining specifically whether to reauthorize four provisions of the act set to expire in December. One could be forgiven for missing the hearing amidst the deluge of news this week.

Documents

Document: Justice Department Did Not Rely on Whitaker in FISA Matters, FISC Says

On Thursday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued an order stating that the government "has not relied on any action taken by [former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker] in any submission to the court." The order, issued by Judge Rosemary Collyer, denied attorney Thomas C. Goldstein's motion to file an amicus curiae brief challenging Whitaker's authority to take action before the court on the basis that his appointment as acting attorney general was unlawful.

FISA

Three FISA Authorities Sunset in December: Here’s What You Need to Know

Thought we were done with surveillance-law debates, at least for a few years? Not by a long shot. A sunset is looming for three provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. What’s at stake? Here’s a guide to prep you for the eventual legislative battle.

Which three authorities are in issue?

Donald Trump

Document: Don't Take Trump's Tweets Literally, Justice Department Argues

The Department of Justice submitted an unusual court filing in litigation over the release of the Carter Page FISA, arguing that the president's statements on Twitter concerning the Page FISA should not be assumed to be accurate or based on the president's personal knowledge of the underlying issue. The document, which was filed on Nov. 30 and first flagged by USA Today reporter Brad Heath, is available here and below.

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