05.22.15

Burr Proposes Path Forward with Patriot Act Reform Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) released a framework of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Improvements Act of 2015, which incorporates portions of the House’s USA Freedom Act but better supports our national security by extending the transition period of the bulk telephony metadata collection from the National Security Agency (NSA) to the telecommunications carriers.

“It’s clear that the USA Freedom Act doesn’t protect our national security as well as it should, so I’m providing a framework to plug the holes in the bill,” said Chairman Burr. “My legislation provides a longer transition period to ensure that the metadata collection process moves properly to the carriers without endangering our national security or our personnel overseas.  It also contains a bipartisan approach which would provide the government with advance notice of a carrier’s intent to change its data retention policies. This framework also provides a better amicus provision that will enable the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get expert assistance without injecting unnecessary operational delay into the FISA application process.  These improvements will greatly assist the Intelligence Community in their efforts to keep Americans safe both here and abroad.”

Fact Sheet: FISA Improvements Act of 2015

Sponsored by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), the FISA Improvements Act of 2015 incorporates portions of the House’s USA Freedom Act but better supports our national security by extending the bulk data collection transition over two years. 

The FISA Improvements Act of 2015:

Ends the transitional bulk collection program on June 30, 2017

  • Bulk collection authorities expire regardless of whether carrier-based process is fully operational.
  • The carrier-based process takes effect on June 30, 2017.
  • Contains a bipartisan approach that would provide the government with advance notice of a carrier’s intent to change its data retention policies.

“Lone wolf” and “Roving” authorities are made permanent.

  • Makes non-contentious tools used by both the Intelligence and Law Enforcement Communities permanent.

Authorizes public reporting by persons subject to non-disclosure orders

  • Permits companies who receive certain non-disclosure orders to publicly report aggregate numbers related to the types of information being sought by the government.

Provides additional transparency and allows for outside experts at the FISA Courts

  • Formally authorizes the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts’ inherent authority to appoint amicus curiae (outside experts). 
  • Text is based upon preferred approach by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
  • Provides options for private companies to report public information regarding FISA authorized inquiries.

Fixes deficiencies in current authorities

  • Permits NSA to continue electronic surveillance of overseas terrorists who enter the United States for up to 72 hours while the government seeks authority under FISA or criminal wiretap statutes to continue such surveillance.
  • Permits the intelligence community to continue surveillance of domestic surveillance targets even if they leave the United States.
  • Increases the statutory maximum for material support for terrorism from 15 to 20 years.