At this moment, the House of Representatives is voting on a compromise Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reform that basically gives away the store. reason Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez published a rundown of the bill yesterday at Ars Technica:
House proponents of the FISA amendments have been circulating a series of talking points in response to a New York Times editorial condemning the deal, but many of the "corrections" are themselves false or misleading. The document claims, for instance, that the new bill "contains greater Constitutional protections than the original 1978 FISA law" (since amended many times) in part because it specifies that FISA is the "exclusive means" for foreign intelligence surveillance. But the original law contained the very same stipulation. It also makes much of the requirement, long in place, that intelligence agencies seek a FISA warrant before "targeting" Americans. But this simply ignores the actual point of controversy: The power to acquire communications between Americans and broadly-defined "targets" abroad with only very loose and general court supervision. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that House leaders have scheduled such a rapid vote on the bill, leaving opponents precious little time to get their own message out.
More background on FISA here… the debate is playing now on your friendly neighborhood C-SPAN outlet.