It's being reported that on Satusay of August 4th, 2007, that the House of Representaives voted on the text of Senate Bill 1927 to approve increased
wiretapping powers for the Executive branch and intelligence community.
I'd like to bring the following news item
to your attention. The actual text
of this bill (S-1927) will be will appear with a source link
following this article.
House Approves Foreign Wiretap Bill
By CHARLES BABINGTON Sunday, August 05, 2007
WASHINGTON - The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign
suspects whose communications pass through the United States.
The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate's approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature.
Late Saturday, Bush said, "The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has assured me that this bill gives him what he needs to continue
to protect the country, and therefore I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk."
The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other
communications involving foreign nationals "reasonably believed to be outside the United States." Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it
goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or
The bill updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. It gives the government leeway to intercept, without warrants,
communications between foreigners that are routed through equipment in United States, provided that "foreign intelligence information" is at stake.
Bush describes the effort as an anti-terrorist program, but the bill is not limited to terror suspects and could have wider applications, some
The government long has had substantial powers to intercept purely foreign communications that don't touch U.S. soil.
If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court.
Congressional Democrats won a few concessions in negotiations earlier in the week. New wiretaps must be approved by the director of national
intelligence and the attorney general, not just the attorney general. Congress has battled with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on several issues,
and some Democrats have accused him of perjury.
The new law also will expire in six months unless Congress renews it. The administration wanted the changes to be permanent.
Many congressional Democrats wanted tighter restrictions on government surveillance, but yielded in the face of Bush's veto threats and the impending
"This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and
balances," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during the debate preceding the vote. "I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply
eviscerate the 4th Amendment," which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
Republicans disputed her description. "It does nothing to tear up the Constitution," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.
If an American's communications are swept up in surveillance of a foreigner, he said, "we go through a process called minimization" and get rid of
the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a threat.
The administration began pressing for changes to the law after a recent ruling by the FISA court. That decision barred the government from
eavesdropping without warrants on foreign suspects whose messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers, including Internet sites.
Senate Bill 1927 was approved on a roll call vote on Friday of Augst 3rd, 2007. It was then sent over to the House, where they voted on it late
Saturday night (August 4th). This is as close as Congress gets to being sneaky. Did htey really think we wouldn't notice?
Before we get down to the nuts and bolts of this discussion, I'd like to show you
the full text of Senate Bill 1927.
Calendar No. 324110th CONGRESS
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATESAugust 1, 2007
Mr. MCCONNELL (for himself and Mr. BOND) introduced the following bill; which was read the first timeAugust 2, 2007Read the second time and placed on
the calendarA BILLTo amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of
foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Protect America Act of 2007'.
SEC. 2. ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE FOR AUTHORIZING CERTAIN ACQUISITIONS OF FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105 the following:
`CLARIFICATION OF ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE OF PERSONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
`Sec. 105A. Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a
person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.
`ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE FOR AUTHORIZING CERTAIN ACQUISITIONS CONCERNING PERSONS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year
authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if the Director
of National Intelligence and the Attorney General determine, based on the information provided to them, that--
`(1) there are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition of foreign intelligence information under this section concerns
persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, and such procedures will be subject to review of the Court pursuant to section
105C of this Act;
`(2) the acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance;
`(3) the acquisition involves obtaining the foreign intelligence information from or with the assistance of a communications service provider,
custodian, or other person (including any officer, employee, agent, or other specified person of such service provider, custodian, or other person)
who has access to communications, either as they are transmitted or while they are stored, or equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or
store such communications;
`(4) a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and
`(5) the minimization procedures to be used with respect to such acquisition activity meet the definition of minimization procedures under section
`This determination shall be in the form of a written certification, under oath, supported as appropriate by affidavit of appropriate officials in the
national security field occupying positions appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate, or the Head of any Agency of the
Intelligence Community, unless immediate action by the Government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification. In such a
case, the determination of the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall be reduced to a certification as soon as possible but
in no event more than 72 hours after the determination is made.
`(b) A certification under subsection (a) is not required to identify the specific facilities, places, premises, or property at which the acquisition
of foreign intelligence information will be directed.
`(c) The Attorney General shall transmit as soon as practicable under seal to the court established under section 103(a) a copy of a certification
made under subsection (a). Such certification shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United States and
the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, and shall remain sealed unless the certification is necessary to
determine the legality of the acquisition under section 105B.
`(d) An acquisition under this section may be conducted only in accordance with the certification of the Director of National Intelligence and the
Attorney General, or their oral instructions if time does not permit the preparation of a certification, and the minimization procedures adopted by
the Attorney General. The Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall assess compliance with such procedures and shall report
such assessments to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the
Senate under section 108(a).
`(e) With respect to an authorization of an acquisition under section 105B, the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may direct a
`(1) immediately provide the Government with all information, facilities, and assistance necessary to accomplish the acquisition in such a manner as
will protect the secrecy of the acquisition and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such person is providing to the target;
`(2) maintain under security procedures approved by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence any records concerning the
acquisition or the aid furnished that such person wishes to maintain.
`(f) The Government shall compensate, at the prevailing rate, a person for providing information, facilities, or assistance pursuant to subsection
`(g) In the case of a failure to comply with a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e), the Attorney General may invoke the aid of the court
established under section 103(a) to compel compliance with the directive. The court shall issue an order requiring the person to comply with the
directive if it finds that the directive was issued in accordance with subsection (e) and is otherwise lawful. Failure to obey an order of the court
may be punished by the court as contempt of court. Any process under this section may be served in any judicial district in which the person may be
`(h)(1)(A) A person receiving a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e) may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the
pool established under section 103(e)(1).
`(B) The presiding judge designated pursuant to section 103(b) shall assign a petition filed under subparagraph (A) to one of the judges serving in
the pool established by section 103(e)(1). Not later than 48 hours after the assignment of such petition, the assigned judge shall conduct an initial
review of the directive. If the assigned judge determines that the petition is frivolous, the assigned judge shall immediately deny the petition and
affirm the directive or any part of the directive that is the subject of the petition. If the assigned judge determines the petition is not frivolous,
the assigned judge shall, within 72 hours, consider the petition in accordance with the procedures established under section 103(e)(2) and provide a
written statement for the record of the reasons for any determination under this subsection.
`(2) A judge considering a petition to modify or set aside a directive may grant such petition only if the judge finds that such directive does not
meet the requirements of this section or is otherwise unlawful. If the judge does not modify or set aside the directive, the judge shall immediately
affirm such directive, and order the recipient to comply with such directive.
`(3) Any directive not explicitly modified or set aside under this subsection shall remain in full effect.
`(i) The Government or a person receiving a directive reviewed pursuant to subsection (h) may file a petition with the Court of Review established
under section 103(b) for review of the decision issued pursuant to subsection (h) not later than 7 days after the issuance of such decision. Such
court of review shall have jurisdiction to consider such petitions and shall provide for the record a written statement of the reasons for its
decision. On petition for a writ of certiorari by the Government or any person receiving such directive, the record shall be transmitted under seal to
the Supreme Court, which shall have jurisdiction to review such decision.
`(j) Judicial proceedings under this section shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible. The record of proceedings, including petitions filed,
orders granted, and statements of reasons for decision, shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United
States, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.
`(k) All petitions under this section shall be filed under seal. In any proceedings under this section, the court shall, upon request of the
Government, review ex parte and in camera any Government submission, or portions of a submission, which may include classified information.
`(l) Notwithstanding any other law, no cause of action shall lie in any court against any person for providing any information, facilities, or
assistance in accordance with a directive under this section.
`(m) A directive made or an order granted under this section shall be retained for a period of not less than 10 years from the date on which such
directive or such order is made.'.
SEC. 3. SUBMISSION TO COURT REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF PROCEDURES.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105B the following:
`SUBMISSION TO COURT REVIEW OF PROCEDURES
`Sec. 105C. (a) No later than 120 days after the effective date of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to the Court established under section
103(a), the procedures by which the Government determines that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic
surveillance. The procedures submitted pursuant to this section shall be updated and submitted to the Court on an annual basis.
`(b) No later than 180 days after the effective date of this Act, the court established under section 103(a) shall assess the Government's
determination under section 105B(a)(1) that those procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do
not constitute electronic surveillance. The court's review shall be limited to whether the Government's determination is clearly erroneous.
`(c) If the court concludes that the determination is not clearly erroneous, it shall enter an order approving the continued use of such procedures.
If the court concludes that the determination is clearly erroneous, it shall issue an order directing the Government to submit new procedures within
30 days or cease any acquisitions under section 105B that are implicated by the court's order.
`(d) The Government may appeal any order issued under subsection (c) to the court established under section 103(b). If such court determines that the
order was properly entered, the court shall immediately provide for the record a written statement of each reason for its decision, and, on petition
of the United States for a writ of certiorari, the record shall be transmitted under seal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which shall have
jurisdiction to review such decision. Any acquisitions affected by the order issued under subsection (c) of this section may continue during the
pendency of any appeal, the period during which a petition for writ of certiorari may be pending, and any review by the Supreme Court of the United
SEC. 4. REPORTING TO CONGRESS.
On a semi-annual basis the Attorney General shall inform the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, the Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence of the House of Representatives, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of
Representatives, concerning acquisitions under this section during the previous 6-month period. Each report made under this section shall include--
(1) a description of any incidents of non-compliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence under
section 105B, to include--
(A) incidents of non-compliance by an element of the Intelligence Community with guidelines or procedures established for determining that the
acquisition of foreign intelligence authorized by the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence concerns persons reasonably to be outside
the United States; and
(B) incidents of noncompliance by a specified person to whom the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence issue a directive under this
(2) the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.
SEC. 5. TECHNICAL AMENDMENT AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.
(a) In General- Section 103(e) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(e)) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'; and
(2) in paragraph (2), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'.
(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents in the first section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 105 the following:
`105A. Clarification of electronic surveillance of persons outside the United States.
`105B. Additional procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions concerning persons located outside the United States.
`105C. Submission to court review of procedures.'.
SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE; TRANSITION PROCEDURES.
(a) Effective Date- Except as otherwise provided, the amendments made by this Act shall take effect immediately after the date of the enactment of
(b) Transition Procedures- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, any order in effect on the date of enactment of this Act issued pursuant
to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) shall remain in effect until the date of expiration of such order, and,
at the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall reauthorize such order as long as
the facts and circumstances continue to justify issuance of such order under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as
in effect on the day before the applicable effective date of this Act. The Government also may file new applications, and the court established under
section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall enter orders granting such applications pursuant to such
Act, as long as the application meets the requirements set forth under the provisions of such Act as in effect on the day before the effective date of
this Act. At the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C.
1803(a)), shall extinguish any extant authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical search entered pursuant to such Act. Any
surveillance conducted pursuant to an order entered under this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act.
(c) Sunset- Except as provided in subsection (d), sections 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall cease to have effect
180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
←→(d) Authorizations in Effect- Authorizations for the acquisition of foreign intelligence information pursuant to the amendments made by this
Act, and directives issued pursuant to such authorizations, shall remain in effect until their expiration. Such acquisitions shall be governed by the
applicable provisions of such amendments and shall not be deemed to constitute electronic surveillance as that term is defined in section 101(f) of
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801(f)).
Please take your time. Look at this slowly. It's got a number of implications for web sites like ATS, and other forms of communication that you and
I use every day. This was no accident. It wasn't something that they did by mistake. If you're looking of real conspiracy, this would be it.
S-1927 appears to have good intentions, but it takes the lid off a very large can of worms. One case in point would be ATS. The Feds are known to
play fast and loose with their legal definitions. Under this law, comms which originate outside the U.S. and pass through the United States, will be
open to monitoring without a warrant...unless...those comms are specially associated with a U.S. citizen known to be in the U.S. at the time of
There's only one way they can know who is associated with whom. they've got to tap it, track, it, and archive it to develope a pattern. Sounds
harmless? Think twice before you send me an e-mail when you're outside the U.S. Yes, I know they're supposed to be targeting hostile countries
only...but...what constitutes a hostile country? My one specific worry is that this law is too broad, and therefore easily exploited without further
[edit on 5-8-2007 by Justin Oldham]