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The Constitution in the National Surveillance State, 93 Minnesota L. Rev. 1 (2008)


Late in 2005, the New York Times reported that the Bush administration had ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on telephone conversations by persons in the United States in order to obtain information that might help combat terrorist attacks. The secret NSA program operated outside of the restrictions on government surveillance imposed by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FlSA) and is thought to be only one of several such programs. In 2007, Congress temporarily amended FISA to increase the President's power to listen in on conversations where at least one party is reasonably believed to be outside the United States. In June 2008, Congress passed a new set of amendments to FISA, which allow the President to engage in a broad range of electronic surveillance without seeking warrants against particular individual targets of surveillance. At the same time, Congress effectively immunized telecommunications companies that had participated in the secret NSA program.

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