Fixing the Surveillance Law

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 16, 2007 | Go to article overview

Fixing the Surveillance Law


Byline: Russ Feingold,, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Before leaving town for the August recess, Congress bowed to pressure from the administration and significantly expanded the government's ability to eavesdrop without a court-approved warrant. The situation was eerily similar to enactment of the Patriot Act in 2001, when Congress rushed through a bill that gave the executive branch overly intrusive powers.

Because the new law expires in February, Congress now has the opportunity to fix its mistakes. This time, Congress should pass a bill that lets the government spy on suspected terrorists but also protects the communications of law-abiding Americans. And it should reject efforts to block the courts from ruling on the legality of the administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) almost 30 years ago to prevent the domestic spying abuses we saw in the 1970s. New legislation is needed to make it clear that FISA doesn't require the government to get a warrant to listen to communications of foreign terrorists overseas.

Every member of Congress agrees with this goal. Unfortunately, the bill recently approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee goes far beyond fixing that problem. It allows the government to listen to communications between Americans in the United States and their friends and colleagues abroad, even if no one involved has any connection to terrorism or any other criminal activity.

The government could secretly listen to an American reporter talking to sources overseas, or read e-mails between an American and relatives abroad. These aren't hypothetical concerns. Because the government will be acquiring communications in the United States without a warrant, it is almost certain it will pick up communications involving Americans at home.

The Intelligence Committee bill is not as bad as the law we passed over the summer, but it still gives the executive branch too much power. The government has to convince the secret FISA court it is targeting non-Americans "reasonably believed" to be overseas. But there's a major catch. Under the new bill, the government can begin its surveillance before it has gotten approval from the FISA court, and it can use any information it obtains even if the court decides the request is unlawful.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fixing the Surveillance Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.