Frist says changes to surveillance legislation unnecessary

[JURIST] Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) [official website] said Sunday that existing legislation governing domestic surveillance [JURIST news archive] does not need to be rewritten or updated. Appearing on CBS News' Face the Nation, Frist also said that he believed that the National Security Agency does not need to obtain a court order [transcript, PDF] before engaging in domestic eavesdropping under the White House's terrorist surveillance program [White House position paper].

Other members of Congress, however, are pushing for updates to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [text]. Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) [official website], the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday said that the NSA domestic spying program must comply with FISA. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) [official website], chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has called [JURIST report] for the NSA program to be brought under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FJC backgrounder] and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website], chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee] has said that he is working on legislation [JURIST report] to explicitly bring the surveillance program within the purview of the FISC. The White House has insisted that the program is legal, but officials seem willing to entertain a proposal [Washington Post report] from Sen. Mike Dewine (R-OH) [official website] that would give lawmakers more power in authorizing domestic surveillance. AP has more.



 

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