Domestic surveillance activities now subject to FISC supervision: Gonzales Joshua Pantesco at 4:13 PM ET
[JURIST] The Bush Administration will from now on submit all domestic surveillance requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [FJC backgrounder] for review and approval under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, according to a letter [PDF text; US DOJ background briefing transcript, DOC] sent Wednesday by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The letter explained that the a member of FISC had authorized government surveillance of transmissions coming into or going outside of the country where one party was suspected of association with a terrorist organization:
On January 10, 2007, a Judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued orders authorizing the Government to target for collection international communications into or out of the United States where there is probable cause to believe that one of the communicants is a member or agent of Al Qaeda or an associated terrorist organization. As a result of these orders, any electronic surveillance that was occurring as a result of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
While maintaining the legality of the NSA domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], Gonzales said the President will not reauthorize the program when its current authorization expires, and will instead submit all surveillance requests through the FISC.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.