Skip to comments.Loophole in Law May Allow Warrantless Surveillance of Americans
Posted on 06/12/2012 7:48:03 PM PDT by Theoria
Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are divided over whether there is a loophole in current law which would permit government agencies to monitor the communications of American citizens without any kind of warrant or other judicial authorization.
The dispute was presented but not resolved in a new Senate Intelligence Committee report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) Sunsets Extension Act, which would renew the provisions of the FISA Amendments Act through June 2017.
We have concluded that section 702 [of the Act] currently contains a loophole that could be used to circumvent traditional warrant protections and search for the communications of a potentially large number of American citizens, wrote Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall.
But Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Committee chair, denied the existence of a loophole. Based on the assurances of the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community, she said that the Section 702 provisions do not provide a means to circumvent the general requirement to obtain a court order before targeting a U.S. person under FISA.
It is unclear from the public record which of these conflicting positions is more likely to be correct.
Senators Wyden and Udall offered an amendment to explicitly prohibit searches of U.S. persons communications that are incidentally gathered in the course of FISA surveillance of foreign persons abroad unless there is a warrant or other authorization permitting surveillance of that specific person, but their amendment was voted down in Committee by 13-2.
We have sought repeatedly to gain an understanding of how many Americans have had their phone calls or emails collected and reviewed under this statute, but we have not been able to obtain even a rough estimate of this number, Sens. Wyden and Udall wrote. An Inspector General review is now underway to determine whether it is feasible to estimate the number, Sen. Feinstein noted.
See FAA Sunsets Extension Act of 2012, Senate Report 112-174, June 7, 2012.
The first three semi-annual reports on compliance with the procedures of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act were recently released in redacted form by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Those reports generally found no evidence of any intentional or willful attempts to violate or circumvent the requirements of the Act. On the other hand, certain types of compliance incidents continue to occur, indicating the need for continued focus on measures to address underlying causes, including the potential need for additional measures.
My question ... who initiated the search for this loophole?
Surprisingly, I actually agree with her. No law can create a loophole in the constitution. If it does the law itself by definition is unconstitutional.
by golly the lib is right.
Loophole my @ss!!
Some election year bu$& covering going on. These folks are just testing to see how far they can git......
“These folks are just testing to see how far they can git......”
“When I say GIT I mean it.”
“And cut me a switch.”
My Mom...... circa 1970
Well, for many years the intelligence agencies were surveilling international phone calls without warrants under these same pretenses. I’m pretty sure this was true even after FISA was passed. Why is this news to the oversight committees, while I can read about it in paperbacks from the used book store?
Unless they passed a new amendment to the constitution there is no “loophole”. This is BS.
Would this be Bush’s “Domestic Spy” program that the Libs, the ACLU, the NYT and everyone else was so up-in-arms about, or Obama’s, which seems to be regarded about as harmful as a soft, pink cotton ball?
So I guess nobody was right to be concerned about the individual mandate and Obamacare, since they were apparently unconstitutional as well.
snoop on everyone, when ya find anything, get a warrant from a friendly ‘judge’ and bring down the hammer...some loophole...
There is no loophole in the Constitution, which means information gained unconstitutionally is not admissible.
However, since Obama can order any person he wishes killed without the benefit of due process warrantless surveillance has become a virtual a non-issue.