Latest Development

Development in 2018

Comparison of pending active bills in Congress.


1/11/2018, the bipartisan group of House Representatives pushing for reforms to protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties fell short of votes to get an amendment passed to a bill (S. 139) that will reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act for another 6 years. The House passed the bill, legitimately making the situation worse by not containing enough reform. The bill heads to the Senate for a vote on Jan. 16. You can ACT NOW to stop it in Senate. 


1/11/2018, House votes on S. 139 (based on  HR 4478, with least reform), along with multiple amendments, including USA RIGHTS Act Amendment (requesting to replace the whole text in of S. 139 with that of  House bill H.R. 4124, aka USA RIGHTS Act).

House debate live cast: https://www.c-span.org/video/?439416-1/us-house-set-vote-fisa-reauthorization&live=


1/10/2018. Over 15 Congressional members explain why it is important to vote for the USA RIGHTS Act Amendment. It is critical to protect our national security, as well as our 4th Amendments right. As Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) put it, "To do a search on Americans, get a warrant!" Sen. Rand Paul threatens to filibuster if the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization bill does not provide protections for U.S. citizens’ private information. Watch the video posted by Fox News.


1/9/2018, in a huge positive development, the USA Rights Act was introduced   as an amendment to the bill reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence   Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act.  We urge you to contact  your  Member of Congress 

On Jan. 11, the House will be voting on the  bill.   


1/19/2018. The temporary expiration date of FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that was set by the government funding bill on 12/21/2017.


1/10/2018.  The House Rules Committee is scheduled to consider a revised measure to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act, "when it could be advanced to the House floor for a vote", as reported by Bloomberg. The "revised measure" was released by Republicans on 1/5/2018.


Development in 2017

12/31/2017. The original expiration date of FISA Amendments Act of 2008.


12/21/2017. Congress passed a stopgap bill that will keep the government funded into January, and  also extend FISA Amendments Act through Jan. 19.  "Congress will have to return to  the issue of whether to impose new privacy safeguards on that program as part of a longer-term extension." 

 

12/13/2017. Thirty five (35) lawmakers in the U.S. House write letter to House Leadership demanding stand-alone bill for FISA Reauthorization, threatening to block any extension of government funding past the end of the year should FISA extension be part of any funding bills. “There may be temptation to attach reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act to a large end-of-year legislative package, but doing so would undermine representative democracy by effectively precluding most members of Congress from being heard on the important issues it raises and preventing the public from finding out where their representatives stand.”, the letter reads, and "It also could further undermine public trust in the intelligence community ...". 


12/08/2017.  ACLU describes its joint lawsuit with Professor Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University on the "destructive effects of unwarranted government scrutiny on the lives of people who have done nothing wrong, and minorities and activists have historically borne the brunt of these practices."


12/07/2017.  The House Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing on the FBI today.  According to a media report, House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Fourth Amendment Caucus Co-Chair Ted Poe (R-TX) Tie FISA Data Disclosures to Section 702 Reauthorization.  Specifically, “I hope you can provide us that information (how many times the FBI has searched FISA databases for information belonging to US citizens) before we reauthorize FISA, otherwise I’m going to vote against FISA,” Poe threatened FBI Director Christopher Wray, receiving the backing of the committee’s chairman. 


12/6/2017. U.S. Officials Claims that Warrantless Surveillance Can Continue Even if Law Expires.   The claim is based on the issuance of the last one-year certification by  the FISA court on April 26, 2017.  If this claim is accepted, it would  extend the expiration date to April 25, 2018.  


12/4/2017. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) responds to the Myths About Reforming FISA’s Section 702


12/2/2017. House Appropriations Chairman introduced a bill to extend government funding for two weeks from December 8 to December 22. There is speculation that FISA reauthorization may be inserted as part of an omnibus bill to force passage instead of voting on a “clean” bill.  


12/1/2017. Bloomberg News report on House Foreign Surveillance Turf War Heats Up as Law Sunset Nears


11/30/2017. Thirty six (36) organizations led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) write a letter to Congress to express their strong opposition to the House bill H.R. “FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017" (H.R. 4478). The letter warns the bill "would expand surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surve illance Act (FISA), grant the government more authority under other provisions of FISA, and could be read to codify current unlawful surveillance practices. "


11/29/2017. Fifteen (15) major Asian American organizations sent a letter (http://bit.ly/fisaLetter) to Congress urging reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act with a new sunset date within 4 to 6 years and maximum reforms to more oversight, accountability and transparency to protect privacy and civil liberty. House bill H.R. 4478, the House version of the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, was introduced as the sixth active bill under consideration. 


11/16/2017. Senate bill S.2158, the Senate version of the USA Liberty Act, was introduced as the fifth active bill under consideration.  


11/7/2017. A joint blog by seven co-authors, Making a Choice in the Legislative Battle of FISA Reauthorization, describes and compares three major bills and four versions of legislative choices in reauthorizing FISA amendments at that time. 


10/31/2017. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined the Xi family in filing an amended complaint that challenges the government’s baseless and malicious prosecution of Professor Xi, as well as the invasive surveillance tools that agents apparently used to spy on him and his family without cause. It also alleges that Professor Xi was subject to the same bias and discrimination that has led the FBI and the Justice Department to wrongly pursue and prosecute several other innocent Americans of Chinese descent. 


10/11/2017. The Committee of 100 sent a letter to Congress urging FISA reauthorization only with a new sunset date and protection of privacy and civil liberty by making major reforms to improve the terms, transparency, oversight, and accountability.  


7/31/2017. Blog on One Asian American’s Perspective on the FISA Amendments Act and Section 702 describes the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and its implications and impact on all Americans, especially innocent Asian Americans. 


6/6/2017. Senate bill S. 1297 was introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee to make Title VII of the FISA of 1978 permanent. 


5/10/2017. Professor Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University, formerly accused of spying for China, filed suit against FBI agents for falsifying evidence in violation of his constitutional rights. 


5/2017. The Committee of 100 presented a white paper by South Texas College of Law, titled “Prosecuting Chinese ‘Spies:’ An Empirical Analysis of the Economic Espionage Act,” providing empirical evidence that Asian Americans may be facing unfair and increasing racial prejudice under the Economic Espionage Act.  


4/26/2017. Declassified opinion and order by the FISA court cited the government reporting efforts to be lacking in “institutional candor” and represent “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”  

Historical Development

6/2013. Edward Snowden began to disclose secret global surveillance programs conducted by the U.S. that also collect communications “incidentally” from U.S. persons without probable cause and warrant. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act was used as the legal basis for these surveillance programs.  


12/30/2012. President Barack Obama extended the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 for five years to December 31, 2017.   


7/10/2008. President George W. Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 into law, adding Title VII to legitimize the targeting and surveillance of non-U.S. persons outside the U.S., but must be conducted in a manner consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.     


12/16/2005. The New York Times reported a program of warrantless domestic wiretapping ordered by the Bush administration and carried out by the National Security Agency since 2002.  


9/11/2001. Terrorists attacked the U.S.  


10/25/1978. President Jimmy Carter signed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Pub. L. 95-511) into law, intending to provide judicial and congressional oversight of the government's covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the U.S., while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security.