Saturday, July 15, 2006

Senator Feinstein's reply: July 12, 2006

Thank you for writing to me about recent revelations that the United States Government has engaged in domestic electronic eavesdropping without going through the process required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA). I welcome the opportunityto respond.

As a member of both the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, I have been briefed on the operational details of the electronic surveillance program and investigated its legality. It is my belief that the program could and should be conducted in accordance with the FISA law, which requires a court order for the collection of the contents of any electronic or telephone communication.

I believe that it is wholly possible for the program to be broughtunder FISA, especially if minor changes are made to revise the process by which applications to the FISA Court are prepared and reviewed.

For these reasons, I have introduced legislation, with SenatorSpecter, so that all content collection for foreign intelligence purposes isconducted within the FISA framework. The Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006, S. 3001, hasbeen endorsed by the American Bar Association. My bill would restate that FISA is the exclusive authority for content collection, mandate that no federal funds be spent on such activities that do not comply withFISA, and eliminate administrative roadblocks raised by the Attorney General that he says hinder his ability to bring cases directly to the FISA court.

Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will continue towrite to me on issues of importance to you. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

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