8 Senators: Blow the Doors Open on FISA Court

Bipartisan group wants FISA rulings declassified

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 11, 2013 1:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Here's one way to cut down on leaks about spy agencies' use of the super-secret FISA court—make the rulings public. Eight senators from both parties backed a bill today that would bring far more transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, reports Roll Call. They want key rulings from the court declassified in the wake of last week's leaked reports in the Guardian and Washington Post. The Hill notes that the bipartisan group of eight ranges from Al Franken on the left to Tea Party favorite Mike Lee.

“There is plenty of room to have this debate without compromising our surveillance sources or methods or tipping our hand to our enemies," says Democrat Jeff Merkley, who is leading the effort with fellow Oregonian Ron Wyden. The court operates in secret under FISA, and it was one of its rulings that ordered Verizon to hand over data on phone calls to the NSA. If a ruling were deemed too vital to public safety to unseal, the bill would allow the attorney general to release a summary of it or to provide a report to Congress, reports Politico.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is one of the eight senators calling for a more transparent FISA court.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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