H.R.6304 - FISA Amendments Act of 2008

To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes. view all titles (9)

All Bill Titles

  • Short: FISA Amendments Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Official: To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Short: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 as introduced.
  • Short: FISA Amendments Act of 2008 as passed house.
  • Short: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 as passed house.
  • Short: FISA Amendments Act of 2008 as passed senate.
  • Short: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 as passed senate.
  • Short: FISA Amendments Act of 2008 as enacted.
  • Short: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008 as enacted.

Comments Feed

  • donnyshaw 06/23/2008 5:11am

    Kevin Drum has a great post looking at parts of this bill other than the much-discussed telecom immunity provision. The bill will allow the NSA to engage in wholesale data monitoring of communications that sometimes involve U.S. persons. It’s a process based on a software algorithm, and he raises important questions about how oversight of a complex program like this is conducted.


    “The oversight on this stuff is inherently weak. After all, no court can seriously evaluate algorithms like this and neither can Congress. They don’t have the technical chops. Do the algorithms use ethnic background as one of their parameters? Membership in suspect organizations? Associations with foreigners? Residence in specific neighborhoods? Nobody knows, and no layman can know, because these things most likely emerge from other parameters rather than being used as direct inputs to the algorithm.

    For all practical purposes, then, the decision about which U.S. citizens to spy on is being vested in a small group of technicians operating in secret and creating criteria that virtually no one else understands. The new bill requires annual review by Inspectors General of the government’s compliance with targeting and minimization procedures, which is better than nothing, but stronger amendments aimed at limiting the targeting of U.S. citizens were specifically rejected."

  • Jaden 06/24/2008 9:04am

    Proponents of this resolution claim that it “strikes a balance between security, and privacy”.
    Even if that statement were true, I must argue that on some issues, such “balance” is wholly inappropriate.
    This is one of those issues.
    The monitoring of American’s communications by the American government, without first obtaining a warrant, or, in most cases even having any probable cause (other than information obtained via warrant-less surveillance,)is an unacceptable breach of the constitutional contract between the Federal Government and the American Citizen.
    No amount semantically charged debate about the imaginary differences between the words “surveillance” and “spying”, or any amount of fear mongering will change the fact that our elected officials have instituted (or at the very least allowed the institution), of a domestic spying program.
    After the Berlin Wall came down, I remember how appalled Americans were upon the discovery of warehouses full of STASI documents collected by the East German government detailing East German Citizen’s communications. I remember that this discovery was used as a shining example as to why democracy is a better system than communism.
    So now I wonder… If all of the American communications, collected by the U.S. Government were stored on paper rather than on hard drives, how many comparable warehouses would we have already filled, how many more will we fill, and how many of the boxes filled with all that paper in all of those warehouses would have your name on them?

  • Anonymous 06/26/2008 7:35am
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    + -4

    American citizens can take some satisfaction in the result of the vote to allow monitoring of foreign calls involving US citizens with possible terrorist links. Had such surveillance been in place before 9-11, more than 3000 of our citizens may not have died that day. If citizens want their gov’t to protect them, they ought to be joyous that wholesale rejection of the FISA didn’t go through. To have allowed punitive legal action against the telecom companies that helped track such calls would be irresponsible and put our nation at greater risk from such attacks. As for Jaden’s analogy between the STASI documents collected by East Germany, there is no comparison between the inner workings of a communist regime and a democracy that works.

  • Comm_reply
    MattAgnello 07/10/2008 6:48am

    Whether they acted legally is for a COURT to decide, not Congress.

  • Comm_reply
    georgec 07/01/2008 3:53pm
    Link Reply
    + -1

    A DEMOCRACY THAT WORKS?????? Where have you been for the last 20 years? America the beautiful has more people in prison or jail than any country in the world. We live in a POLICE STATE. Our government created chaos so it would be easier to control us.(ie:WAR ON DRUGS,WAR ON CRIME,WAR ON TERROR). Has any thing gotten any better? Do not trust the government!!!!!!!!!

  • Comm_reply
    tpp 02/06/2009 5:02am

    Oh, wait: these wiretaps were already occurring, and 9/11 STILL happened.

  • Anonymous 06/29/2008 4:54am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    A democracy that still works? For who? The rich and powerful. Only those that have money can afford to run for a seat in government anymore. This government is more concerned with spending billions on foriegn wars and aid while our own nations infrastructure is failing, millions are without health care, and millions more are without a job.

    This bill is just another tool for the government to slowly leech our freedoms away from us and use it to control us. There is no way anyone can be certain that if such a program was in place before 9/11 that it would have stopped what occurred. Unfortunately not only were 3000 US citizens killed, but also our freedoms. That death has just been a more agonizing and slow death.

  • Anonymous 06/30/2008 3:28am

    With this issue of FISA violations the American people actually had an avenue they could pursue on their own to hold accountable those violating our civil liberties (The Telecoms and the Bush Administration).

    Congress cowered to the Bush Administration and never launched any action while they knew that this Administration had been violating civil rights and breaking the law (See Senator Dodd’s speech on 6/25 for a detailed report). So, why no charges filed by Congress? Why no Impeachment? The answer, Politics.

    The American people had an avenue to pursue which would force the courts (The Judiciary Branch) to find guilty the henchmen (The Telecoms) and the true perpetrators (The Bush Administration – Bush himself).

    This FISA bill blocks the American people from being able to act while our Representatives are too busy playing politics and take no actions on our behalf.

    Telecom Immunity takes away the only avenue the American people have to hold accountable those who broke and still break the law. With this Bill, Congress takes away all power from the people. This Bill ends all court cases levied against the Telecoms by The People.

    With the passage of this Bill, the true perpetrators of the crimes against the American People are free to go with no accountability. Congress plays Judge and Jury with only one purpose, Politics.

    The Democrats don’t want to be blamed for “Not Protecting America” and the Republicans want to protect their President and Party.

    God, Bless America, we all need it!

  • Anonymous 06/30/2008 10:28am

    I have a hard time taking the Democrats seriously on this one. They don’t even define ‘terrorism’ and that is something the American people want to know before the bill is passed. If they can’t define what they are looking to combat through this bill passing than I’m just going to have to accept that it will be purges all over again.

  • Anonymous 07/02/2008 12:01pm
    Link Reply
    + -2

    There was already fore knowledge of 9/11 before it happened. Nothing was done about it. They knew about it before it happened, and let it happen.

    While I don’t agree to every statement of the ‘truthers’, I do know, by photographic evidence, that it was no commercial airliner that hit the Pentagon. I also know that construction grade steal does not melt at the temperatures that kerosene burns at (which is almost identical to the temperature that jet fuel burns at).

  • Anonymous 07/02/2008 12:09pm

    This bill needs to be completely revoked. There is no reason for American Citizens to be subject to illegal wiretaps, of any sort.

    No terrorist organization, or act, can take away our liberties. We can only give them away, or let the government take then, “for our own good”.

    If the decision in Washington D.C. to lift the gun ban becomes more wide spread, more citizens will be armed to combat any attempt in terror.

    It is a proven fact that areas with gun bans are more prone to violent crimes then locations that have a “shall issue” conceal carry. Places that are gun banned can also be thought of as a sociopath’s or terrorist’s playground. They KNOW that no one is going to be able to stop them before they have their day.

  • Anonymous 07/07/2008 11:22am
    Link Reply
    + -2

    Madness:: Doing the same thing over & over again, expecting different results… When will the Madness end…**

  • Anonymous 07/09/2008 10:25am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    This is all academic.

    First off, the “F” in FISA stands for FOREIGN. Not a single communication in dispute up to now has not had a foreign national on at least one end of the line. So by definition, it’s not “domestic” wiretapping. We’re not monitoring Americans’ communications.

    Second, if having your communications with a foreign national with terrorist ties is a daily threat in your life, maybe you ought to rethink your life’s direction instead of bellyaching about some perceived “police state” you think you’re living under.

    And finally, since the highest court to yet decide on the issue (The Foreign Intelligence Court of Review, subservient only to the US Supreme Court) has already ruled on November 18, 2002, that FISA is unconstitutional because it improperly limits the inherent powers of the President “to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information”…

    Well, like I said: it’s all academic.

  • Comm_reply
    Remixer96 07/09/2008 11:42am

    First, there hasn’t been a legal dispute among domestics because no one has been able to prove they’ve been harmed by the program…. because information that would prove that has been classified as secret by the Justice Department.

    Second, unless they define terrorist, they can claim anyone who has ever been maligned in some fashion is a terrorist. Without an explicit definition, things wil most certainly not bode well for the aplication of this law as it was intended.

    Third, let’s look at a key example, where the government literally plugged into the Internet stream at AT&T to listen in on everyone. That captures foreign data, sure, but the specs that were leaked showed technology to capture ALL data flows, including domestic to domestic.

    I think the idea that “it’s only academic” is a horrible line of reasoning. Not only does this destroy barriers of privacy, but increasing the data that governmetn can collect does nothing if it can’t process it quick enough, which is where the government is still having the MOST trouble… but no one seems to want to write a bill about that.

    So, giving up my privacy for a negligible gain in safety? No thank you.

  • steve_hunt_okc 07/11/2008 8:05pm

    Obama is starting to look like another Bill Clinton, only with a slightly different interest in the Tyson Corporation.

  • Moderated Comment

  • donnyshaw 07/14/2008 12:37pm

    Check out these awesome flow charts explaining how this bill changes the old FISA law:


  • arrowkeeper 05/29/2009 3:51am

    to further UNDERSTAND this whole FISA fiasco read TheShadowFactory by JamesBamford and pay close attention to what is being written in the chapter entitled BOOK THREE:COOPERATION, then question as to why the telecoms have not been held ACCOUNTABLE and what STILL might be going on with what has been set in motion by the NSA & the BushAdministration in spite of H.R.6304 as PRIVATE corporations can STILL access w/o FISA!

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