Strengthening FISA: Does the Protect America Act Protect Americans' Civil Liberties and Enhance Security? Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Tenth Congress, First Session, September 25, 2007   [open pdf - 9MB]

From the opening statement of Patrick J. Leahy: "The Protect America Act provides no meaningful check by the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Court, or by the Congress, for that matter. It does not even require the Government to have its own internal procedures for protecting the privacy of these Americans. As I said, it may be a spouse calling from here to a husband or a wife who is overseas protecting America. They may be talking about the children's grades. They may be talking about a difficulty a child may be having with the separation. Now, the alternative bill would have required at least internal procedures and an Inspector General audit, and I would like to know why Director McConnell rejected that idea. In addition, the Protect America Act contains language that appears to go far beyond what the administration said it needed. It redefines ''electronic surveillance'' in a way that has expansive implications, but was not necessary to accomplish the administration's stated objectives. It has language in many places that, at the very least, is inscrutable and could be read to allow much broader surveillance than the administration has acknowledged or, for that matter, I hope intends. And if this was unintentional, well, then, we can fix it. That is one of the things the sunset requires us to do, is look at it. If it was not, then we need to evaluate what was really intended and why. I know the skilled and dedicated employees of our intelligence agencies want to protect our country, as every one of us does. But if our history has taught us anything, it is that the Government cannot and should not be left to police itself when it comes to the secret surveillance of Americans. The Founders knew it. The Congress that passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act knew it. So I hope this hearing will help us institute the proper protections to safeguard our security and our valued freedoms." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Russell D. Feingold; Chuck Grassley; Patrick J. Leahy; Arlen Specter; James A. Baker; Bryan Cunningham; James. X. Dempsey; J. Michael McConnell; Suzanne E. Spaulding; and Michael A. Sussmann.

Report Number:
S. Hrg. 110-921; Senate Hearing 110-921; Serial No. J-110-57
Public Domain
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Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html
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