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

(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.

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Showing 3 of 96 comments
spicer
Jun 12, 2013 1:01 AM CDT
you can listen to my boring conversations with my wife,mil,mom ect im fine with it
Jadin
Jun 11, 2013 6:30 PM CDT
There are right secrets and wrong secrets, and I'm glad to see that at least 8 senators are trying to do the right thing.
RAD45
Jun 11, 2013 5:04 PM CDT
What aboput the word "secret" do people (including Congress and posters here) not understand? Everyone has secrets and governments have BIG SECRETS such as their operations and methods of gathering intelligence. Apparently everyone -- in a quest for "transparency", whatever THAT means -- has fogotten the first imperative of government -- to protect its citizens! You can't protect anything if the bad guys know what you know, how you came to know it, exactly who knows it, and what you might do about it. Snowden helped our enemies find out about the reach and thoroughness of our electronic spying... now we have Senators wanting to expose the ruliings of the FISA court. This smacks of politics more than common sense as we know Congress can't keep any secrets if it means one party can throw mud at the other side! That we have Senator Al Franken and Tea Partier Mike Lee in agreement on "transparency" of a secret organization tells me we have a Congress more worried about re-election than security and creating jobs. Eeeek! If the world wasn't hostile to our way of life the FISA wouldn't be necessary, but it is, so we need people to button their lips and we need enforcement of the laws against 'treason'. Snowden will soon -- if he hasn't already -- find his world is not a friendly place and doesn't care about his narccisim and feelings of moral superiority!