Surveillance of Foreigners Outside the United States Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

Surveillance of Foreigners Outside the United States Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Edward C. Liu. April 13, 2016.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct a Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) to “intercept international communications into and out of the United States” by “persons linked to al Qaeda or related terrorist organizations.” After the TSP activities were concluded in 2007, Congress enacted the Protect America Act (PAA, P.L. 110–55), which established a mechanism for the acquisition, via a joint certification by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Attorney General (AG), but without an individualized court order, of foreign intelligence information concerning a person reasonably believed to be outside the United States. This temporary authority ultimately expired after approximately six months, on February 16, 2008. Several months later, Congress enacted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110–261), which created separate procedures for targeting non–U.S. persons and U.S. persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States under a new Title VII of FISA. Title VII of FISA was reauthorized in late 2012 (P.L. 112–238); this authority now sunsets on December 31, 2017.

[PDF format, 9 pages, 535.43 KB].

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