Mark Jaycox writes:
In the past two weeks Congress has introduced a slew of bills responding to the Guardian‘s publication of a top secret court order using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to demand that Verizon Business Network Services give the National Security Agency (NSA) a record of everycustomer’s call history for three months. The order was confirmed by officials like President Obama and Senator Feinstein, who said it was a “routine” 90 day reauthorization of a program started in 2007.
Currently, four bills have been introduced to fix the problem: one by Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, Senators Udall and Wyden, and Rep. Conyers. The well-intentioned bills try to address the Justice Department’s (DOJ) abusive interpretations of Section 215 (more formally, 50 USC § 1861) apparently approved by the reclusive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) in secret legal opinions.
Sadly, all of them fail to fix the problem of unconstitutional domestic spying—not only because they ignore the PRISM program, which uses Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and collects Americans’ emails and phone calls—but because the legislators simply don’t have key information about how the government interprets and uses the statute.Congress must find out more about the programs before it can propose fixes. That’s why acoalition of over 100 civil liberties groups and over half a million people are pushing for a special congressional investigatory committee, more transparency, and more accountability.
Read more on EFF.