Obama Signs FISA Warrantless Wiretapping Legislation Extension

Anthony Gucciardi
February 16th, 2013
Updated 04/08/2013 at 8:48 pm

The 2008 FISA Amendments act, which allows for the warrantless wiretapping of United States citizens, has now officially been extended to 2017 following President Obama’s authorization signature.

Under the extension on the George W. Bush-era legislation, which lasts until 2017, a judge is no longer required for federal agents to wiretap and monitor all forms of communication. This is done primarily through a NSA-headed deal with communications companies like AT&T. It was back in 2007 when telecommunication networks were actually given retroactive legal immunity for tracking and monitoring calls from within the United States under the NSA’s US wiretapping program.

warrantless wiretappingBefore turning into a piece of warantless wiretapping legislation, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act originated back in 1970 and was intended to regulate the rules and policies of domestic spying within the nation. That changed dramatically when, in 2008, the act expanded to the surveillance of phone and email activities of US citizens. Specifically, the act enables investigators to tap phones or track emails without a warrant. The act allows for warrantless wiretapping purely if it is suspected that they are speaking to someone overseas through phone or email.

Warrantless Wiretapping for  Calls, Emails Directed Overseas

And that’s what makes this bill so truly concerning. The tapping policies require only the suspicion that you are speaking to a resident of another nation to initiate the wiretapping. No known crime, no judge, no jury — just enough suspicion to believe that someone is likely speaking to someone in another nation.

Despite the serious vocal concerns from citizens and representatives like Rand Paul, who was one of only 23 to vote against the bill verses 73 votes in favor during the Senate vote, the bill glided straight through the political system and quickly received the signature of the president before the date of expiry (Monday).

The act also threatens internet freedom as a whole, threatening those who communicate online to others in foreign nations with domestic spying. Major internet freedom organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have spoken specifically on this issue, particularly with the unknown number of citizens under surveillance by the NSA. EFF spokesperson Trevor Timm called it:

“…an unconsitutional law that openly allows for warrantless surveillance of Americans’ overseas communications.”

In an effort to find out how many Americans, let alone innocent Americans, had been spied on through FISA, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) decided to send a latter back in May to the National Security Agency (NSA). In their letter they asked the secretive agency how many US citizens were directly targeted since 2008 when the bill turned ‘hot’. In a telling response, Inspector General I. Charles McCullough said that such an answer is not possible as it would go ‘beyond the capacity’ of the office.

Furthermore, McCullough said that they would actually need to allocate a significant amount of ‘additional resources’ that would affect the overall operation of the NSA. While not giving a straight answer, this means the number is very, very high.

The act now extends to 2017 after passing the House, the Senate, and signed today by Obama.

Additional Sources:

Huffington Post



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Category: Constitution, Internet Freedom, US

Anthony Gucciardi

About the Author ()

Google Plus Profile Anthony Gucciardi is the creator of Storyleak, accomplished writer, producer, and seeker of truth. His articles have been read by millions worldwide and are routinely featured on major alternative news websites like the infamous Drudge Report, Infowars, NaturalNews, G Edward Griffin's Reality Zone, and many others. He is also a founding member of the third largest alternative health site in the world, NaturalSociety.com.

Comments (31)

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  3. We have to keep our democracy. We have to keep freedom of speech in America. I know we want to feel safer and prevent further terrorist attacks, but by letting them hurt our privacy we let them win.

  4. hemorrhoids says:

    As part of the new approach will be processed digital infrastructure now a strategic national asset, the president explained, and their defense will be a top priority for national security. New office will be established in the White House Cyberspace Security Coordinator, to coordinate the policies of all institutions related to the field, concentrating on the prevention of threats. The state also will invest in research and development in the digital domain; Worry about providing the necessary education to train personnel capable of dealing with the pace of technology development, and the president also called for a new national campaign to open a new public awareness of information security challenges.

  5. but by letting them hurt our privacy we let them win.

  6. Privacy should be kept in any measure possible.stop those laws

  7. Discussion of the right to privacy is likewalking into the mist. You can find almost every aspect disputes concerning the nature and scope of the right to defense should give her. In recent years, though much of growing tension between the values ​​relating to her as it was known in the past and the present status quo. There are even those who argue that privacy is dead in the Internet age and social networking.

  8. zenique says:

    Everybody has a secret… but let them get into our life we loose, and terror wins

  9. 360mm.ca says:

    The act also threatens internet freedom as a whole – it threatens every one of us, do you want that private information about you will be stored in the NSA? Abnd maybe used sometime? We have to be against it!

  10. Are you serious about that? Please protect our privacy!

  11. guide health says:

    " Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) decided to send a latter back in May to the National Security Agency (NSA)" – its is good to know that there is someone who is protecting the interests and right of the US citizens!

  12. The work also threatens internet freedom by and large, frightening individuals who communicate on the internet to other people in international countries with household spying. Main online freedom organizations like the Electronic Frontier Groundwork (EFF) have spoken especially for this matter, notably together with the unfamiliar quantity of citizens beneath surveillance from the NSA

  13. Obama is the best president ever for us, he cares about the public health, he has taken out the forces from various places in the world. He us making the economy better.

  14. if you start hurting the privacy of citizens, because you are afraid from terror, than terror has already won.

  15. tumblr says:

    With terrorists, we have to be on the offensive, not defensive.

  16. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) are brave senators, who protect the public rights. We should stand against any such attempt, and reject it, as one.

  17. hemorrhoids says:

    "Furthermore, McCullough said that they would actually need to allocate a significant amount of ‘additional resources’ that would affect the overall operation of the NSA. While not giving a straight answer, this means the number is very, very high." – We should allocate all the resources we can find to fight terrorism.

  18. I don't see how this act threatens the internet freedom in any way.

  19. I don't see how this act threatens the internet freedom in any way.

  20. oxycodone says:

    When you deal with terrorists, always attack!

  21. Again and again and again are rights are being questioned by our government,a nd we need to stay vigilant.

  22. medical says:

    I know that I'm not going to sound popular here, but this measures are necessary..we need to protect our country agains terrorists

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  26. ladyesther says:

    This is another sign we are losing our freedom, slowly , but in a steady course. Democracy is on a slippery road, we should stay vigilant.

    • my health says:

      Don't rush into conclusion, and don't underestimate the citizens of this country. It will not happen. The people of America will not let it happen.

      • Dan Fence says:

        During the years, our freedom has been taken from us step by step, especially during 9/11.
        yes, we should defend our nation against terrorists. NO, we should not cross the border between human rights and nation security.

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