Saturday, December 29, 2012
"Fiddling" Congress still is working on FISA extension; practical implications for ordinary citizens seems minimal
Apparently, while Congress is supposed to be working on the Fiscal Cliff under emergency year end conditions, it has been working on other things, like surveillance."
The Business Insider reported early Dec. 29 that the Senate has approved a five-year extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The law appears to allow the government to tap into communications (including emails and probably social media under privacy settings) with foreign nationals suspected of terrorist activities, especially when Americans are abroad. It is less clear that it would apply at home (without a warrant).
The link for the “Agence France Presse” story is here.
Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has supported the bill, and admitted that it sometimes could listen in on calls to American citizens at home. She claims several major attacks have been stopped by the warrantless searches.
It is probably unlikely that Americans ordinarily are wiretapped, except by happenstance or unusual coincidence. Yet, once I walked into a bar in Baltimore and overheard a dangerous conversation. The “Ice Man” scenario can sometimes happen.