Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Senate moves to give Bush more power to wiretap

A bill that expands President Bush's ability to wiretap American phones and conduct other forms of domestic surveillance will likely appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday.

The bill, which was written by judiciary chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and which has been widely and publicly excoriated by Democratic members of the committee, contains provisions—such as the institution of program-wide warrants, and warrants that do not expire for a year—that would weaken the strict limits that currently govern the FISA courts.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was written nearly 20 years ago and offers guidelines about the legal use of wiretaps on phones inside the United States. It includes provisions for the use of courts to issue warrants if the government’s case against a suspect meets legal scrutiny.


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