I want to go through what the provisions of HR 6304 really mean, what changes they make to FISA and how this will really impact us. I did a little of this in my prior post just to illustrate a point, but here I want to go through it for its own sake, and so that people really know what their representatives have done to them. Due to the the difficulty of doing this I will be posting a few points at a time, as I uncover them. For today, from Sec 103 of HR 6304
- FISA court orders must be reported to congress now (previously not included)–no complaints here.
- More information is required of the Attorney Generals semiannual report to the Congressional Intelligence committees–still no complaint. Hmm, these changes seem far too responsible, what’s the catch?
- The Attorney General may authorize any redactions necessary to protect national security in the reports to Congress–Oh, here’s the catch. More detailed reports are required, but feel free to censor the information as you see fit Mr Attorney General (redaction authority only applies to the new required information in the report, information previously required may not be redacted, at least there is no mention of such authority in either 50 U.S.C 1871, or in HR 6304). This means that Congress has more oversight of electronic surveillance–if the president feels like letting them have it.
So increased accountability at the pleasure of the president. In other words, no increased accountability of any real import.
Filed under: FISA Fiasco