Monday, January 05, 2009

Constitutionality of FISA to be Reviewed

Steven Aftergood writes on Secrecy News:

A federal appeals court in Oregon will hold a hearing next month on a government appeal of a 2007 judicial ruling that said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is unconstitutional.

The FISA is a statute that regulates domestic intelligence, and generally requires judicial authorization for intelligence search and surveillance within the United States. Critics of Bush Administration electronic surveillance activities such as the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” have argued that they unlawfully circumvented the provisions of the FISA.

But the FISA itself, as modified by the USA PATRIOT Act, is unconstitutional, a federal court ruled [.pdf] on September 26, 2007.

That ruling came in response to a challenge by Brandon Mayfield, who was erroneously arrested in connection with the Madrid bombings in 2004 based on a false fingerprint match and subsequent surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FBI later apologized for his mistaken arrest and provided a financial settlement. But Mayfield continued to challenge the legal foundation of the arrest.

More here.


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