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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: A Brief Overview

Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: A Brief Overview

Date: March 31, 2014
Creator: Cole, Jared P. & Nolan, Andrew
Description: This report discusses the recent disclosures of various National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance and data collection programs that have prompted increased attention on the government's collection of foreign intelligence.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities and Recent Developments

Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities and Recent Developments

Date: April 1, 2014
Creator: Liu, Edward C.; Nolan, Andrew & Thompson, Richard M., II
Description: This report focuses on two main National Security Agency (NSA) collection activities approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. The first is the bulk collection of telephony metadata for domestic and international telephone calls. The second involves the interception of Internet-based communications and is targeted at foreigners who are not within the United States, but may also inadvertently acquire the communications of U.S. persons.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions

The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions

Date: March 25, 2014
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: This report discusses potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service through an examination of the Service's history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions

The U.S. Secret Service: History and Missions

Date: June 18, 2014
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: This report discusses potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service through an examination of the Service's history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act: A Sketch of Selected Issues

Date: July 7, 2008
Creator: Bazan, Elizabeth B.
Description: This report briefly outlines three issues relating to electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and touches upon some of the perspectives reflected in the ongoing debate. These issues include the inherent and often dynamic tension between national security and civil liberties, particularly rights of privacy and free speech; the need for the intelligence community to be able to efficiently and effectively collect foreign intelligence information from the communications of foreign persons located outside the United States in a changing, fast-paced, and technologically sophisticated international environment or from United States persons abroad, and the differing approaches suggested to meet this need; and limitations of liability for those electronic communication service providers who furnish aid to the federal government in its foreign intelligence collection. Two constitutional provisions, in particular, are implicated in this debate — the Fourth and First Amendments. This report briefly examines these issues and sets them in context.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Date: March 2, 2010
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives

Congressional Oversight of Intelligence: Current Structure and Alternatives

Date: September 16, 2008
Creator: Kaiser, Frederick M.
Description: This report first describes the current select committees on intelligence and then the former Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, often cited as a model for a counterpart on intelligence. The study also sets forth proposed characteristics for a joint committee on intelligence, differences among these, and their pros and cons. The report examines other actions and alternatives affecting congressional oversight in the field.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Intelligence Authorization Legislation: Status and Challenges

Intelligence Authorization Legislation: Status and Challenges

Date: September 18, 2012
Creator: Grimmett, Richard F. & Lange, Rebecca S.
Description: This report assesses the effects of the absence of intelligence authorization legislation subsequent to FY2005 and indicate the substantial but limited effects of the FY2010 Intelligence Authorization Act (P.L. 111-259)
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Homeland Security Intelligence: Perceptions, Statutory Definitions, and Approaches

Homeland Security Intelligence: Perceptions, Statutory Definitions, and Approaches

Date: January 14, 2009
Creator: Randol, Mark A.
Description: This report provides a potential conceptual model of how to frame homeland security intelligence (HSINT), including geographic, structural/statutory, and holistic approaches. Given that state, local, tribal, and private sector officials play such an important role in HSINT, the holistic model, one not constrained by geography or levels of government, strikes many as the most compelling. The report argues that there is, in effect, a Homeland Security Intelligence Community (HSIC). Although the HSIC's members are diffused across the nation, they share a common counterterrorism interest. The proliferation of intelligence and information fusion centers across the country indicate that state and local leaders believe there is value to centralizing intelligence gathering and analysis in a manner that assists them in preventing and responding to local manifestations of terrorist threats to their people, infrastructure, and other assets. At the policy and operational levels, the communication and integration of federal HSINT efforts with these state and local fusion centers will likely remain an important priority and future challenge.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Date: October 29, 2009
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Intelligence Issues for Congress

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Date: April 23, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall Curtis
Description: This report gives an overview of current intelligence issues of interest to the 112th Congress. It includes background and analysis including most recent development, ongoing Congressional concerns, specific issues for the 112th Congress, and a summary of related legislation from the 109th through the 112th Congresses.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Intelligence Issues for Congress

Intelligence Issues for Congress

Date: July 11, 2008
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr.
Description: This report explores the various issues currently facing Congress in regards to intelligence and counterterrorism activities, including the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (P.L. 108-458), signed in December 2004; the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), which that act created; the importance of collaborative efforts between various intelligence agencies to successfully carry out counterterrorism measures; and other pieces of legislation relevant to such matters.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Smartphone Data Encryption: A Renewed Boundary for Law Enforcement?

Smartphone Data Encryption: A Renewed Boundary for Law Enforcement?

Date: October 17, 2014
Creator: Finklea, Kristin
Description: This report briefly examines new issues for law enforcement regarding data encryption and smartphones including cyber-criminals and Apple's new privacy policy that removes the back-doors that law enforcement used to be able to use to access user data.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions

Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions

Date: April 10, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall C.
Description: Published reports have suggested that in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Pentagon has expanded its counterterrorism intelligence activities as part of what the Bush Administration termed the global war on terror. Some observers have asserted that the Department of Defense (DOD) may have been conducting certain kinds of counterterrorism intelligence activities that would statutorily qualify as "covert actions," and thus require a presidential finding and the notification of the congressional intelligence committees. This report examines the legislative background surrounding covert action and poses several related policy questions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Date: March 16, 2009
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

The U.S. Secret Service: An Examination and Analysis of Its Evolving Missions

Date: July 31, 2008
Creator: Reese, Shawn
Description: This report frames potential policy questions concerning the U.S. Secret Service's (USSS) mission and organization through an examination of the USSS history and its statutory authorities, mission, and present activities within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Date: January 6, 2009
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

Satellite Surveillance: Domestic Issues

Date: June 27, 2008
Creator: Best, Richard A., Jr. & Elsea, Jennifer K.
Description: This report provides background on the development of intelligence satellites and identifies the roles various agencies play in their management and use. Issues surrounding the current policy and proposed changes are discussed, including the findings of an Independent Study Group (ISG) with respect to the increased sharing of satellite intelligence data. There follows a discussion of legal considerations, including whether satellite reconnaissance might constitute a "search" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; an overview of statutory authorities, as well as restrictions that might apply; and a brief description of executive branch authorities and Department of Defense directives that might apply. The report concludes by suggesting policy issues Congress may consider as it deliberates the potential advantages and pitfalls that may be encountered in expanding the role of satellite intelligence for homeland security purposes.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications

"Gang of Four" Congressional Intelligence Notifications

Date: April 16, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall Curtis
Description: This report reviews the history of the Gang of Four notification process and compares this procedure with that of the "Gang of Eight" notification procedure. The "Gang of Eight" procedure is statutorily based and provides that the chairmen and ranking Members of the intelligence committee, along with the Speaker and minority leader of the House, and Senate majority and minority leaders--rather than the full membership of the intelligence committees-- are to receive prior notice of particularly sensitive covert action programs, if the President determines that limited access to such programs is essential to meet extraordinary circumstances affecting vital U.S. interests.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions

Covert Action: Legislative Background and Possible Policy Questions

Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Cumming, Alfred
Description: This report examines the statutory procedures governing covert action and associated questions to consider.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Acquisition: Issues for Congress

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Acquisition: Issues for Congress

Date: April 16, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall Curtis
Description: This report discusses Congressional issues regarding Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, which are integral components of both national policymaking and military operations, including counterterrorism operations. ISR systems are costly and complicated, and the relationships among organizations responsible for designing and operating these systems are equally complicated.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress

Sensitive Covert Action Notifications: Oversight Options for Congress

Date: April 10, 2013
Creator: Erwin, Marshall Curtis
Description: This report describes the statutory provision authorizing Gang of Eight notifications, reviews the legislative history of the provision, and examines the impact of such notifications on congressional oversight.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: Procedural and Operational Changes

Reform of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts: Procedural and Operational Changes

Date: August 26, 2014
Creator: Nolan, Andrew & Thompson, Richard M., II
Description: This report begins with an overview of both the FISC and the FISA Court of Review, including the jurisdiction of these courts, how the judges are appointed, and the FISC's practices and procedures for reviewing and issuing surveillance orders. The report then discusses the scope and underlying legal principles behind congressional regulation of the procedures of the federal courts, and applies those principles with respect to the various proposals to reform the FISA judicial review process.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Set to Expire February 28, 2010

Date: December 23, 2009
Creator: Henning, Anna C. & Liu, Edward C.
Description: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence investigation, obtain authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things. This report discusses three sunsetting amendments of FISA which include the "Lone Wolf" provision, "roving" wiretaps, and access to business records.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department