National Security Letters: Proposals in the 112th Congress [February 1, 2011]   [open pdf - 298KB]

"Three USA PATRIOT Act-related amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expire on February 28, 2011. None of the expiring provisions deal with National Security Letters (NSLs). The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 (S. 193), however, would both extend the expiration of those provisions and amend existing NSL authority. S. 193 corresponds in large measure to legislation reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the last Congress (S. 1692 (111th Cong.)). NSLs are roughly comparable to administrative subpoenas. Various intelligence agencies use them to demand certain customer information from communications providers, financial institutions, and consumer credit reporting agencies under the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the National Security Act, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. [...] S. 193 would return NSL statutes, as of December 31, 2013, to their pre-USA PATRIOT Act status. It would also codify existing law with respect to judicial review of NSL nondisclosure orders and expand existing audit and reporting requirements. This report reprints the text of the five NSL statutes as they now appear and as they appeared prior to amendment by the USA PATRIOT Act (to which form they would be returned under S. 193)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41619
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