Opinion: Ending NSA Surveillance Requires Dumping the FISA Court and Part of the PATRIOT Act

Strip the authority for abuses


In the National Security Agency (NSA) domestic snooping scandal, at least two major issues exist: 1) warrantless government "traffic" analysis of patterns of potentially all Americans' phone calls, from which new technology allows authorities to assemble a fairy good picture of innocent peoples' lives; and 2) the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court that has been a rubber stamp for government warrants to spy on American citizens and permanent residents. Many lawyers, and even former judges on the secret court, have come up with laudable, but insufficient, ways to fix the obviously broken system. However, simple solutions are best: Repeal Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which has allowed government collection and analysis of the phone records of ordinary Americans, and abolish the FISA Court entirely.