New GOP Bill on Warrantless Surveillance.
New developments yesterday concerning the NSA Warrantless Surveillance program.
Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio sponsored a bill yesterday that would "legalize" additional warrantless domestic surveillance of US citizens by the government. As Jurist reports, DeWine indicates:
To engage in such surveillance, the President must have probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a member of or affiliated with a terrorist organization. And, he must believe that the surveillance is necessary to protect the United States from a terrorist attack.
The new bill would allow warrantless electronic surveillance for 45 days of the phone calls and e-mails of a "suspected terrorist" where one party is in the United States, and after 45 days the government would be required to obtain a warrant under FISA or justify continued warrantless surveillance to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Obviously there are a lot of questions surrounding this bill. Some critics are arguing that the new bill gives the government too much discretion and is nothing more than an attempt to legalize an illegal practice. According to the ACLU:
"This bill makes a mockery of congressional oversight and must be rejected," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Congress cannot approve an illegal program when so many questions remain unanswered. When the rule of law has been broken by anyone, especially a president, the proper response is a full and independent investigation -- not a whitewash of the unlawful activity."
DeWine Bill (courtesy of SCOTUS Blog)
SCOTUS Blog Commentary
ACLU Letter to Senate