FISA/FISC matters

What is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)?

FISA was originally enacted in 1978. The law established that non-criminal electronic surveillances within the United States were only permissible for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence and foreign counterintelligence. Second, it identified foreign powers and agents of foreign powers as the entities and persons that could be targeted for electronic surveillance. Third, it articulated a probable cause standard that had to be met before an electronic surveillance was permissible. Fourth, the Act established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

What are the procedures for targeting people outside the United States?

Limitations in regards to acquisition are as follows: (1) may not intentionally target any person known at the time of acquisition to be located in the United States; (2) may not intentionally target a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States if the purpose of such acquisition is to target a particular, known person reasonably believed to be in the United States; (3) may not intentionally target a United States person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States; (4) may not intentionally acquire any communication as to which the sender and all intended recipients are known at the time of the acquisition to be located in the United States; and (5) shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the fourth amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

What is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a federal court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The FISC deals with applications made by the United States Government for approval of electronic surveillance, physical search, and certain other forms of investigative actions for foreign intelligence purposes.

Who are the Judges in the FISC?

The Judges of FISC are made up of eleven Judges from seven different districts, three of which must reside within twenty miles of Washington, DC. Each Judge serves a maximum of seven years and they serve on a rotational basis, one week at a time. The presiding Judge is determined by the Chief Justice.

What is the authority of the Judges?

Each Judge may exercise the authority vested by the Act and such other authority as is consistent with Article III of the Constitution and other statutes and laws of the United States, to the extent not inconsistent with the Act.