The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 18, 2007

Myth/Fact: Key Myths About FISA Amendments in the Protect America Act
Provisions Of Protect America Act Of 2007 Must Be Made Permanent To Prevent Gaps In Our Ability To Collect Vital Foreign Intelligence Information

     Fact sheet In Focus: National Security

In August, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Protect America Act of 2007, which modified the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to give our intelligence community necessary tools to acquire important information about our enemies. Passed with bipartisan support in the House and the Senate, the Act restores FISA to its original focus of protecting the civil liberties of Americans, while not acting as an obstacle to conducting foreign intelligence surveillance on targets located in foreign countries. But this new statute is a temporary and narrowly focused measure to deal with the most immediate shortcomings in the law. It is essential that Congress make the Protect America Act permanent and pass legislation to provide meaningful liability protection to those alleged to have assisted our Nation following the 9/11 attacks. Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on FISA. The following are key myths about FISA amendments in the Protect America Act, and the facts that refute them:

1. MYTH: The Protect America Act of 2007 eliminates civil liberty protections under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

2. MYTH: The Protect America Act gives the Federal government new powers to target people in the United States for warrantless surveillance.

3. MYTH: The Protect America Act allows the government to target Americans in the United States under the guise of surveilling a person located overseas – a practice known as "reverse targeting."

4. MYTH: Requiring intelligence operatives to get a court order before collecting foreign intelligence on overseas targets will not hinder the government's ability to collect intelligence.

5. MYTH: The Protect America Act authorizes the executive branch to conduct physical searches of domestic mail, computers, or the homes of Americans without a warrant.

6. MYTH: The Protect America Act would allow the government to obtain, without a warrant or any court approval, the business records of Americans in the United States.

7. MYTH: The Protect America Act allows the intelligence community to intercept communications without any oversight.

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