Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: Comparison of the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3773 and the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3773 [June 12, 2008] [open pdf - 355KB]
This CRS report discusses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA.) "During the 110th Congress, several House and Senate committees have engaged in oversight activities, including hearings and requests for expeditious production of documents and information regarding the Administration's warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance programs, as possible changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as amended, (FISA) were explored. [...] Both the House amendment and the Senate amendment include significant changes to FISA, including provisions on the acquisition of communications of non-U.S. persons and of U.S. persons abroad. The two bills take different approaches to some issues that have played a significant role in the ongoing debate. For example, the Senate amendment would provide retroactive immunity for electronic communications service providers who assisted the government in intelligence activities between September 11, 2001 and January 17, 2007. The House amendment would provide for presentation to a court, with certain safeguards, of evidence and arguments with respect to which state secrets privilege has been asserted in covered civil actions against such electronic communications service providers and other persons who furnished such aid to the government. The House bill also provides for an audit of the Terrorist Surveillance Program and any other wireless electronic surveillance programs, with reporting requirements, while the Senate bill does not. This report provides an overview, a review of legislative activity, and a detailed side-by-side comparison of the provisions of these two bills."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34533