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Dems' FISA Bill Passes Judiciary Committee Vote

The House Judiciary Committee today passed the RESTORE Act, the Democrats' answer to August's FISA rewrite. There were three amendments that passed as well.

  • Jackson-Lee (TX): An amendment to clarify the bill's language and prevent "reverse targeting" by requiring the Administration to obtain a regular FISA warrant whenever a “significant purpose of an acquisition is to acquire the communications of a specific person reasonably believed to be located in the United States” rather than waiting until said person formally becomes a target.
  • Nadler (NY): An amendment to improve court oversight over the government’s compliance with the FISA Court’s orders by requiring the court to assess compliance with its orders as opposed to merely authorizing it to do so and by removing limitations on its review.

More....

  • Scott (VA): An amendment to the bill's auditing and reporting requirements. The current standard is that acquisition must be with the "significant purpose" of gathering foreign intelligence. The amendment seeks to obtain information about what additional purposes for which the government may be collecting.

Update: The New York Times reports on the passage here.

The legislation is expected to be approved by the full House. The Senate has yet to consider a companion bill, though administration officials as well as some civil liberties and intelligence experts say the White House may have more allies there.

Civil liberties advocates praised the House version for not providing immunity to the companies and for increasing judicial oversight of the surveillance program. But they also expressed concern over permitting the security agency to monitor groups of people without obtaining warrants for each individual.

The Associated Press reports on the upcoming showdown:

President Bush said that he will not sign the bill if it does not give retroactive immunity to U.S. telecommunications companies that helped conduct electronic surveillance without court orders.
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    Another fix (none / 0) (#1)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Thu Oct 11, 2007 at 02:01:40 AM EST
    Why can't we make the FISC a court of general jurisdiction over national security matters? A place where issues such as Al-Masri and torture and extraordinary rendition can be heard without violating the secrecy of the United States?