Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire in 2009 [October 29, 2009]   [open pdf - 205KB]

"Three amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are set to expire (sunset) on December 31, 2009. S. 1692, a bill reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee with an amendment in the nature of a substitute, would extend the sunset date by four years and make various modifications to existing authorities. H.R. 3845 would likewise establish a new sunset of December 31, 2013, but it would reauthorize only two of the three expiring provisions. The three sunsetting amendments expanded the scope of federal intelligence-gathering authority following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Two were enacted as part of the USA PATRIOT Act. 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 enlarged the scope of materials that could be sought under FISA to include 'any tangible thing.' It also lowered the standard required before a court order may be issued to compel their production. The third amendment was enacted in 2004, as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Protection Act (IRTPA). Section 6001(a) of the IRTPA changed the rules regarding the types of individuals who may be targets of FISA-authorized searches. Also known as the 'lone wolf' provision, 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."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40138
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