Thursday, September 14, 2006

SB 2453: Warrantless Electronic Surveillance?

The link in the title is to the Wired blog posting of a Discussion Draft of SB 2453, which they report just passed the Senate. While Wired seems to be declaring that the bill authorizes warrantless searches, it looks to me to require warrants to be issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Those who want another version of the bill, and links to the Congressional Record debates, should visit Thomas, the Library of Congress' legislative website. Type the bill number, S 2453 into the search box, and select Bill Number just below the box.

Meanwhile, what is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court? It is a special court that is staffed on a rotating basis by federal judges, sitting in Washington, D.C., to handle requests from the FBI (and possibly other agencies as well) for warrants to search regarding national security issues.

Link here for a brief history of the FISC from the Federal Judicial Center.

Click here for the Federation of American Scientists' very helpful link page with hyperlinks to full text of LOTS of info on and by the FISC, from annual reports to Congress, to all the statutes that involve it, letters and statements from various government officials about the Court.

Here is a link to the Rules of the FISC, as posted by the ACLU

Link for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's FAQs on the Court.

Click here for EPIC news bulletins about the FISA.

And, lest you believe that the FISC judges just roll over when the administration asks for a warrant, here is a Seattle Post Intelligencer article from Dec., 2005 about the FISC modifying adminstration requests, and here is an article from the Washington Post, Dec., 2005, about the court questioning the administration's demands for warrantless searches.

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