Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Set to Expire in 2009 [January 6, 2009]   [open pdf - 194KB]

This report discusses the impending expiration of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the expected consequences on the law following its expiration. "Several recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will sunset on December 31, 2009. Section 6001(a) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act (IRTPA), also known as the 'lone wolf' provision, changed the rules regarding the types of individuals that could be targets of FISA-authorized searches. It permits surveillance of non-U.S. persons engaged in international terrorism, without requiring evidence linking those persons to an identifiable foreign power or terrorist organization. Section 206 of the USA PATRIOT ACT amended FISA to permit multipoint, or 'roving,' wiretaps by adding flexibility to the degree of specificity with which the location or facility subject to electronic surveillance under FISA must be identified. Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT enlarged the scope of documents that could be sought under FISA, and lowered the standard required before a court order could be issued compelling the production of documents. While these provisions will cease to be prospectively effective on December 31, 2009, a grandfather clause permits them to remain effective with respect to investigations that began, or potential offenses that took place, before the sunset date."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40138
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