A Plan to Stop the Feds From Reading Your EmailsSubmitted by Peace Gold Love on Thu, 12/13/2012 - 20:48
Four lawmakers are trying to put a stop to warrantless spying.
By Adam Serwer | Mother Jones
The US government's warrantless surveillance powers largely remain a mystery, even to most of the members of Congress who are set to reauthorize them this week. A small group of senators, however, is planning to introduce a handful of amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act that would pull back the curtain on the program.
"When they passed [changes to the law] in 2008, they were going to get information and watch closely and do oversight," says the ACLU's Michelle Richardson. "Here we are four years later getting ready for a vote, and there's no information in the public realm about how this works."
The Republican-dominated House reauthorized the FISA Amendments Act in September with a lot of bombast from defenders who claimed that the law does not allow spying on American citizens. Not true: It states that Americans can't be targeted, but it permits the government to collect communications between Americans and overseas targets suspected of involvement with terrorism. (The NSA once ended up with former President Bill Clinton's emails). Congress retroactively legalized the Bush administration's warrantless spying program in 2008, with the support of then-Sen. Barack Obama, who promised to reform the program as president. That hasn't happened. Civil liberties organizations have tried to challenge the law as unconstitutional, only for the government to argue that they cannot sue because the program is so secret that the plaintiffs can't prove it affects them.
Continue reading at: Mother Jones