The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review: An Overview
Publication Date: January 2007
Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service
The national debate regarding the National Security Agency's Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) focused congressional attention on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Congressional interest in these courts has been heightened by the January 17, 2007, letter from Attorney General Gonzales to Chairman Leahy and Senator Specter advising them that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge had "issued orders authorizing the Government to target for collection international communications into or out of the United States where there is probable cause to believe that one of the communicants is a member or agent of al Qaeda or an associated terrorist organization," stating that all surveillance previously occurring under the TSP will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and noting that the President has determined not to reauthorize the TSP when the current authorization expires. This report examines the creation, membership, structure, and jurisdiction of these courts. It will be updated as subsequent events may require.