FISA

Ken Lund / Ben Balter (background)

First passed in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) still guides the physical and electronic surveillance of foreign powers and agents. Congress has repeatedly amended the law, however, seeking to calibrate the government’s surveillance to accord with the level of threat and seeking to keep authorities current as technology develops at breakneck speed. Nevertheless, even authorized activities affirmatively permitted by statute have come under fire as a torrent of leaks have revealed government surveillance programs under the statute.

Latest in FISA

Documents

Document: Justice Department Did Not Rely on Whitaker in FISA Matters, FISC Says

On Thursday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued an order stating that the government "has not relied on any action taken by [former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker] in any submission to the court." The order, issued by Judge Rosemary Collyer, denied attorney Thomas C. Goldstein's motion to file an amicus curiae brief challenging Whitaker's authority to take action before the court on the basis that his appointment as acting attorney general was unlawful.

FISA

Three FISA Authorities Sunset in December: Here’s What You Need to Know

Thought we were done with surveillance-law debates, at least for a few years? Not by a long shot. A sunset is looming for three provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. What’s at stake? Here’s a guide to prep you for the eventual legislative battle.

Which three authorities are in issue?

Donald Trump

Document: Don't Take Trump's Tweets Literally, Justice Department Argues

The Department of Justice submitted an unusual court filing in litigation over the release of the Carter Page FISA, arguing that the president's statements on Twitter concerning the Page FISA should not be assumed to be accurate or based on the president's personal knowledge of the underlying issue. The document, which was filed on Nov. 30 and first flagged by USA Today reporter Brad Heath, is available here and below.

FISA

Document: Justice Department Says FISA Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear Private Records Requests

The Justice Department filed a brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on behalf of the United States arguing that the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear cases from private parties requesting the release of records. The full document is available below:

Intelligence Oversight

Friends of the Court: A Suggestion for the FISA Court on the Nunes Memo

You wouldn’t know it from the endless public discussion of the Nunes Memo and the Democratic response to it, but the House of Representatives does not get to decide whether a FISA application is valid. Congress gets to decide what the legal standards are under FISA. But at the end of the day, the judge of any individual FISA application is not the chairman of the House intelligence committee. It’s not the ranking member either. It’s actually not even the President of the United States either.

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