Background Paper on Title VII of FISA Prepared by the Department of Justice and the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) [open pdf - 4MB]
"This paper describes the provisions of Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that were added by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA). Title VII has proven to be an extremely valuable authority in protecting our nation from terrorism and other national security threats. Title VII is set to expire at the end of this year, and its reauthorization is the top legislative priority of the Intelligence Community. The FAA added a new section 702 to FISA, permitting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to approve surveillance of terrorist suspects and other foreign intelligence targets who are 'non-U.S. persons outside the United States', without the need for individualized court orders. Section 702 includes a series of protections and oversight measures to safeguard the privacy and civil liberties interests of U.S. persons. FISA continues to include its original electronic surveillance provisions, meaning that, in most cases, an individualized court order, based on probable cause that the target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, is still required to conduct electronic surveillance of targets inside the United States. Indeed, other provisions of Title VII extend these protections to U.S. persons overseas. The extensive oversight measures used to implement these authorities demonstrate that the Government has used this capability in the manner contemplated by Congress, taking great care to protect privacy and civil liberties interests. This paper begins by describing how section 702 works, its importance to the Intelligence Community, and its extensive oversight provisions. Next, it turns briefly to the other changes made to FISA by the FAA, including section 704, which requires an order from the FISC before the Government may engage in surveillance targeted at U.S. persons overseas. Third, this paper describes the reporting to Congress that the Executive Branch has done under Title VII of FISA. Finally, this paper explains why the Administration believes it is essential that Congress reauthorize Title VII."
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/