Senators Seek Hearings Before Amending FISA
TChris wrote earlier today about why Congress should reject gutting FISA. A bipartisan group of senators has sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) urging him to hold additional hearings before taking action on legislation regarding the NSA warrantless electronic surveillance program. In their letter, Senators Craig, Durbin, Sununu, Feingold, Murkowski, and Salazar express serious concerns about Specter's bill to authorize the NSA program:
We believe that additional information is necessary before the Senate can responsibly consider legislation that would dramatically alter FISA and significantly expand the surveillance authority of the executive branch. ... We are concerned by provisions in the newest version of your bill that suggest that the executive branch could conduct wiretaps and physical searches without the court orders currently required by FISA, and that would amend FISA to authorize "program warrants." In addition, we believe that Congress needs far more information about the newest section of your bill, which contains numerous complex amendments to FISA that appear to rewrite that law significantly.
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