FISA Canards

By March 12, 2008Briefly Legal, Communications

Opponents of updating foreign intelligence authority have done a good job of misrepresenting the issue during the current Congressional debate. Andrew M. Grossman of the Heritage Foundation brings clarity and accuracy to the discussion in a new web memo, “FISA Modernization Is Not About ‘Warrantless Wiretapping’“:

No phrase has done more to confuse the public and distort informed debate over foreign surveillance than “warrantless wiretapping.” The accusation that the federal government is listening in on Americans’ domestic telephone conversations without any legal authority or any judicial oversight has been an article of faith among those who oppose modernization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Though the government’s foreign intelligence programs are clouded in secrecy (and rightly so), publicly available information, statutory text, and recent comments by government officials provide strong indications that FISA modernization, by making permanent the authorities of the now-expired Protect America Act (PAA), has nothing at all to do with domestic wiretapping and has only an incidental relation to Americans’ communications. Now that Congress is again considering restoring FISA to its originally intended scope of coverage by extending the authorities in the PAA, it is important to understand how the government uses these authorities.

We’ve noticed the same phenomenon.

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  • bill stender says:

    the misrepresentation award clearly goes to the proponents of this deeply flawed FISA update;
    let’s see, we have the canard that this is about granting 4th amendment rights to foreigners (lie), then there’s ” if we do away with judicial oversight on wiretapping, if we don’t grant carte blanc to the president to wiretrap at his or her pleasure, then we just cant prevent terrrorism” (flat out evil lie), and the kicker, if we don’t grant blanket immunity for telecoms, then they won’t help the president (break the law) in the future. this one’s not just a lie, it is an obstruction of justice and has much less to do with protecting telecoms than it is about protecting the president. that unprecedented immunity grant would close the last remaining legal avenue for the people of the US to discover the truth about the illegal wiretapping ordered by the president. and this is why Bush promises to veto any bill without it, even while he claims we desperately need the updated FISA to protect the country. if this doesnt beat all the guile on earth! the president clearly has much to hide and is using blatant falsehoods and fear mongering to cover his butt at ALL costs.

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