Breaking News: FISA Wiretapping Deal Reached

Breaking News from the ACLU

Congress Said To Have Reached FISA Deal

Congress Reaches Deal on FISA Bill – ReWrites Surveillance & Wiretapping Rules

FISA Deal Reached, Aides Say

By Tim Starks, CQ Staff

June 19, 2008 – 10:40 a.m.

A final deal has been reached on a rewrite of electronic surveillance rules and will be announced Thursday, two congressional aides said.

The aides said the House is likely to take up the legislation Friday.

The bill would rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA, PL 95-511).

On Wednesday, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D‑Md., had said negotiators were working on a bill that would be “significantly better” than a White House-backed, Senate-passed bill (HR 3773) that has support from some House Democrats.

As of Wednesday, sources said the new bill would allow a federal district court to decide whether to provide retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for their role in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

Under the prospective deal, the secret court created by the original law would get to review, in advance, the process by which the administration chooses foreign surveillance targets who may be communicating with people in the United States.

One source said the federal district court deciding on retroactive immunity would review whether there was “substantial evidence” the companies had received assurances from the government that the administration’s program was legal.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report on an earlier version of the legislation detailed how the companies had received such assurances from the Justice Department and the White House.

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