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January 26, 2006

Tom Holsinger: The Last Word on FISA

Basically, it's outmoded and requires an overhaul.

My father was the adminstrative assistant to a Congressman on the House Intelligence Committee at the time FISA was enacted in 1978. I was and am familiar with the public and Congressional debate on FISA at that time. I was engaged in the private practice of law at that time and so able to follow the details.

My brief conversations with my father and his boss about FISA taught me that Congress was determined to head off future domestic abuses of what was then perceived as the NSA's rapidly growing eavesdropping ability. They didn't care at all about "foreign communications" - those into or out of the U.S. The Executive Branch was adamant about Congress not touching the NSA's surveillance of foreign communications, and Congress didn't care at all about that so the Executive Branch got its way there.

He has more at Volokh.

As Drezner suggests, the administration should throw this back to the Congress and get an updated statute. There's no way the President should be breaking the law, and this one is broken.

Posted by mbowen at January 26, 2006 01:44 PM

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Yeah it should be updated. Let 'em record all my conversations and run the files through a cluster at the NSA. We need an edge on criminals, and this type of spy-tech is one they cannot replicate back at us.

Posted by: matt at January 26, 2006 07:55 PM

Yawn. Holsinger's act -- in which he employs claimed insider info in lieu of actual legal analysis -- was tired from the git-go. Nobody at the Volokh Conspiracy, or any other blog where the average reader has a minimum of two neurons to rub together, is even vaguely duped by his insistent repetition of these canards.

Posted by: apodaca at January 29, 2006 07:50 PM