In Secret, Senate Panel May Authorize Vast Citizen Surveillance Dragnet
By Spencer Ackerman
July 27, 2011
Most of Congress is busy debating whether to raise the debt ceiling. But starting Thursday, Danger Room is hearing, a group of Senators meeting behind closed doors may consider renewing a controversial law permitting widespread government surveillance of Americans’ communications.
That law would be the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which gave the cover of law to President George W. Bush’s warrantless surveillance program. Beloved by the Obama administration, the law is set to expire — not this year, but in 2012.
But the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence may not be so keen on waiting, Congressional sources say. When the committee meets to finalize the fiscal 2012 intelligence authorization bill to the full Senate floor — the bill that approves the activities of the 16 U.S. spy agencies – some senators will push to include a measure re-authorizing the surveillance act.