Letter to Senator Harry Reid from Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J.M. McConnell Regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304), July 7, 2008 [open pdf - 445KB]
"This letter presents the views of the Administration on an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 ('FISA') Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304) that was not covered in our letter of June 26, 2008. As we stated in that letter, we strongly support enactment of H.R. 6304, which would represent an historic modernization of FISA to reflect dramatic changes in communications technology over the last 30 years. This bill, which passed the House of Representatives by a wide margin of 293-129, is the result of a bipartisan effort that will place the Nation's foreign intelligence effort in this area on a firm, long-term foundation. The bill provides our intelligence professionals the tools they need to protect the country and protects companies whose assistance is vital to this effort from lawsuits for past and future cooperation with the Government. As we have previously noted, any FISA modernization bill must contain effective legal protections for those companies sued because they are believed to have helped the Government prevent terrorist attacks in the aftermath of September II, 2001. Liability protection is the fair and just result and is necessary to ensure the continued assistance of the private sector. H.R. 6304 contains such protection, but the amendment addressed in this letter would unnecessarily delay implementation of the protections with the purpose of deferring any decision on this issue for more than a year."