[Intelforum] Secrecy News -- 08/29/07
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from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2007, Issue No. 88
August 29, 2007
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/
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** CRS ON "THE PROTECT AMERICA ACT"
** CRS ON BRIDGES AND TRAINS
** CRS ON VARIOUS TOPICS
CRS ON "THE PROTECT AMERICA ACT"
The controversial amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act (FISA) that were enacted under intense Administration pressure
earlier this month are reviewed section-by-section in a new report from
the Congressional Research Service.
The legislation, dubbed the "Protect America Act of 2007," removed
legal impediments to the interception of foreign communications that
pass through the United States. But it also redefined the terms of the
FISA so as to permit increased surveillance of communications involving
persons in the United States while curtailing judicial supervision.
The new CRS report offers a careful reading of each provision of the
But instead of fully clarifying its impact, the report serves to
highlight just how unclear and indeterminate the new law actually is.
Thus, one provision "could conceivably be interpreted" to apply to
parties within the United States. Another provision "might be seen to
be susceptible of two possible interpretations." Still others "appear
to" or "would seem to" or "may also" have one uncertain consequence or
In other words, the new law bears the hallmarks of its hasty, poorly
The new CRS report may help to identify some of the questions that
Congress will examine when it revisits the legislation next month.
A copy of the report was obtained by Secrecy News.
See "P.L. 110-55, the Protect America Act of 2007: Modifications to the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," August 23, 2007:
CRS ON BRIDGES AND TRAINS
Recent reports from the Congressional Research Service on
transportation security and related issues include the following.
"Highway Bridges: Conditions and the Federal/State Role," August 10,
"Federal Railroad Safety Programs: Selected Issues in Proposed
Reauthorization Legislation," August 10, 2007:
"Transportation Security: Issues for the 110th Congress," updated
August 3, 2007:
CRS ON VARIOUS TOPICS
Noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that
have not been made readily available to the public include these.
"Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Transformational Diplomacy," August
"U.S. Foreign Aid to East and South Asia: Selected Recipients," updated
August 22, 2007:
"The Role of National Oil Companies in the International Oil Market,"
August 21, 2007:
"The War Crimes Act: Current Issues," updated July 23, 2007:
"Manipulating Molecules: Federal Support for Nanotechnology Research,"
updated August 2, 2007:
Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the
Federation of American Scientists.
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