Bush presses case for 'modernizing' FISA

[JURIST] President Bush urged Congress in his weekly radio address [transcript; recorded audio] Saturday to update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text; JURIST news archive] in time to replace the temporary Protect America Act [S-1927 materials; JURIST report], set to expire February 1. That Act currently allows the US government to eavesdrop inside of the US without court approval as long as one end of a conversation is reasonably perceived to have been outside of the US. President Bush reiterated his call to include in new legislation retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies [JURIST report] that allegedly gave the government earlier access to personal emails and phone calls without a court order. Bush says he intends to veto [statement of administration policy, PDF; JURIST report] any bill without the immunity protections.

The US House of Representatives passed the RESTORE Act of 2007 ("Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007") [HR 3773 materials] by a margin of 227-187 [roll call] in November, without including the immunity provision. If the legislation passes in the Senate, the RESTORE Act would replace the temporary Protect America Act as the law governing foreign surveillance. AP has more.

 

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