Latest in FISA: Reform


Legislative Staff Memo on USA Freedom Act Amendments

There may still be a few Lawfare readers who are not so disgusted with their legislature—and their legislators—that they are still following the Senate’s ongoing machinations over the USA Freedom Act. For those who can still contemplate the subject without nausea, here’s the state of play in a nutshell. The sunsetting provisions of the Patriot Act lapsed last night. But the Senate apparently is moving forward after-the-fact on a bill that is substantially similar—with a few differences—from the bill it could not move either six months ago or a week ago.


With Friends Like These

Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell – both Republican Senators from Kentucky – despise the USA Freedom Act for different reasons.  As readers know, the Freedom Act ends bulk collection while giving the NSA the ability quickly to query metadata held by telecommunications providers under a narrow and specific court-supervised standard.  The bill gives neither civil liberties groups nor the NSA everything they want, but it does give them what they – and the country – need: an end to bulk collection and reforms to the Foreig

FISA: Reform

NSA Spying Will Begin Winding Down This Week: Justice Department Memo

Dustin Volz of the National Journal has obtained a memo from the Department of Justice circulated among congressional offices today that says the NSA will need to begin taking steps to wind down the bulk telephone metadata collection program authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act by Friday, May 22nd.


Down to the Wire on the Patriot Act

Julian Hattem has a good piece in the Hill on the current state of play in the Senate with respect to expiration of the Patriot Act provisions in less than two weeks:

Sen. Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said he would allow a vote on legislation overhauling the nation’s surveillance programs, which could give him more leverage in the fight over the National Security Agency’s future.

FISA: 215 Collection

A Sunset of Section 215 Is Increasingly Likely - And May Prompt Overhaul

Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, recently made comments to press suggesting that he believed the sunset for Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act will occur sometime during June 1, 2015, and that this was no big deal. Senator Burr told MSNBC:

Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

McConnell Introduces 2 Month NSA Extension

Likely you've heard: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last night introduced a bill that would reauthorize portions of the Patriot Act set to expire on June 1 for two months, giving lawmakers extra time to consider whether to approve the USA Freedom Act, a clean re-authorization of the Patriot Act's provisions, or some other formulation.

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