Description: Electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes was largely unregulated prior to 1978. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (hereinafter "FISA") was enacted to implement a judicial authorization process for foreign intelligence electronic surveillance that would effectively balance competing needs for national security and civil liberty under the Fourth Amendment. This study examines the evolution of FISA and its effectiveness under the Fourth Amendment, as assessed by federal reviewing courts and scholars since the statute's enactment. The study concludes that the FISA electronic surveillance authorization process has been effective in providing a constitutional mechanism to obtain foreign intelligence information.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Meyer, Aric