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House introduces new FISA legislation.

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Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) introduced the RESTORE Act, the Responsible Electronic Surveillance that is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective Act of 2007. Here are the key provisions:

* Restores court oversight of intelligence by requiring that electronic surveillance programs be approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court
* Mandates that FISA warrants be obtained when the administration wants to undertake surveillance of persons in the US
* No retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the administration’s warrantless surveillance
* Does not require individual warrants when targets are reasonably believed to be abroad
* Ensures FISA is the exclusive means of electronic surveillance and that no modifications can be made without express legal authorization

A summary of the RESTORE Act can be found here. The bill also requires the Justice Department to reveal the details of all electronic surveillance conducted without court orders since 9/11.

UPDATE: Pontificator writes: “Yesterday’s New York Times article on the FISA bill had a misleading title and could easily be misinterpreted if it is not read closely. It implied that the House FISA bill, introduced today, is a capitulation. It is not. It is a strong bill that protects civil liberties and provides for oversight.”

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