Friday, August 10, 2007

Sherrod Brown wrote me a letter

Thank you for expressing your views on the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program.

In December of 2005 it was first reported that President Bush had authorized the NSA to monitor communication between U.S. citizens and terrorist suspects outside the United States without first obtaining a warrant. Serious questions arose about the legality of this program and its compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA).

Congress recently passed revisions to FISA expanding the authority of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to conduct surveillance of foreign targets. Under this legislation, which I opposed, the administration is permitted to conduct surveillance on individuals overseas, including American citizens, without a warrant. Upon initiation of surveillance, the administration has 120 days to submit information to the FISA court on measures used to select targets; however, the court’s review is limited to determining whether the government followed its own procedures. This legislation expires in 180 days, at which point it would require congressional reauthorization.

While I agree that developments in technology require some modifications in our intelligence laws, this legislation overreaches and infringes dangerously on the basic rights of American citizens. The United States needs to ensure that its citizens are safe and secure, but the administration has provided little evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of the surveillance program and the necessity for such an assault on our civil liberties. As congress considers further revisions to FISA, I will certainly keep your views in mind.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Sherrod Brown

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