The FISA Amendments Act: Q&A   [open pdf - 303KB]

"The FISA Amendments Act (FAA), codified as Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes foreign intelligence surveillance activities that have been vital to keeping the nation safe. It will sunset on December 31, 2017 unless Congress passes legislation to remove or extend the sunset provision. Title VII includes not only Section 702, which concerns targeting non-United States (U.S.) persons abroad for surveillance, but also Sections 703, 704 and 705, which concern and provide statutory procedures and protections for surveillance of U.S. persons abroad. Section 702 has been the subject of significant discussion over the last several years and is the focus of this paper. Title VII of FISA permits the government to acquire foreign intelligence information about the plans and identities of terrorists and terrorist organizations, including how they function and receive support. It enables collection of foreign intelligence information about the intentions and capabilities of spies, weapons proliferators and other foreign adversaries who threaten the United States, and it informs U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) cybersecurity efforts. Allowing the FAA to sunset would greatly impair the ability of the United States to respond to national security threats and to respond to foreign intelligence collection opportunities. Further, the additional protections established by Title VII for U.S. persons located abroad would expire with the FAA sunset."

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