It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was put into place in the 1970s to install safeguards to keep Americans safe from unlawful eavesdropping. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, though, the George W. Bush administration ordered amendments to the law that have ever since allowed the NSA to monitor the communications of any US citizen as long as the government suspects that they are corresponding with anyone outside of the country.
Last month, the US House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the 2008 FISA Amendment Act (FAA), but not without attracting criticism from some very concerned parties. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a legal brief warning, “Under the FAA, the government can target anyone — human rights researchers, academics, attorneys, political activists, journalists — simply because they are foreigners outside the United States, and in the course of its surveillance it can collect Americans’ communications with those individuals.”
Beside from the obvious opposition to the warrantless wiretapping of any American with no explanation, there’s another problem that has put the FAA in the spotlight. The Justice Department has insisted that Americans can’t challenge the eavesdropping provisions because no civilians can say with absolute certainty that they have been targeted by secret surveillance.
The reason Americans can’t prove they’ve been monitored, of course, is because the government won’t give them yes or no answer anytime they’ve been asked.
Each time the question comes up over who has been targeted, the government has defaulted to say that national security prohibits them from disclosing who’s been subjected to NSA spying, claiming state secret privilege to prevent disclosing even the bare bones of their wiretapping program. When two US senators asked the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community earlier this year, “how many people inside the United States have had their communications collected or reviewed under the authorities granted by section 702” of the FAA, the NSA fired back by saying even responding to that inquiry would be against their rules.