The House Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation that lawmakers touted as reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court (FISC) based on recent recommendations from the Justice Department inspector general (IG) and ends the government’s controversial domestic surveillance program, but which detractors say doesn’t represent reform at all.
The bill, USA Freedom Reauthorization Act, bumps up congressional oversight of the FISC and imposed penalties on those found using FISC process for political gain. The act also requires transcripts of goings-on in the court. Three surveillance authorizations in the existing agreement were set to expire March 15.
Calling the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) “one of the most complicated, technical statutes” Congress handles and which needs more reform than the new bill provides, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said “some measure of surveillance is necessary to keep our country safe.” Nadler warned that “left unchecked, however, the executive branch is all too willing to unleash its considerable surveillance capabilities on the American people.”
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