Essay on President Bush and FISA

2086 Words 9 Pages
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was a necessary measure signed by President Jimmy Carter in an effort to stop the CIA, FBI, NSA, and other executive powers from conducting warrantless wiretaps of domestic groups for so-called national security purposes. This was necessary because findings by the Church Committee in the early 1970s suggested that warrantless wiretapping had been going on for quite some time by these government entities and was exacerbated by President Nixon and the Watergate scandal. This bill not only set a future precedent for how surveillance should be conducted, but also attempted to set a standard for what “good” and “bad” surveillance were defined as. FISA did not face any substantial challenges …show more content…
These problems that President Bush encountered where in fact very similar to the problems that the Carter administration predicted would surface when they were drawing up the bill in the late 1970s. Carter and other executive members brought up many valid concerns that included physical searches, overseas surveillance, communications intelligence, and how much power to give to the president (Carter Memo 2). The version of FISA proposed in 1978 was in itself a solid piece of legislature. Over the years, many amendments have been made to it that have slowly surrendered its power and allowed to the executive branch to create loopholes in which to continue warrantless surveillance where and when they see it fit. For this reason, the FISA process of requiring review by a special court is still viable, but does need some adjustments that allow it to stand similarly to its original form.
Since the passing of FISA came after a widespread finding of warrantless wiretapping by a number of different government entities, Congress along with the Carter administration, needed to carefully craft a bill that not only reconciled national security needs to conduct domestic surveillance, but also continued to protect individual liberties such as that of the first and fourth amendments. The once top-secret Carter administration memos regarding FISA offer a first-hand glimpse at the thinking that went into
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