by Ryan Gallagher, Slate, 9/14/12
No one knows exactly how many Americans’ communications are being intercepted by the National Security Agency. But despite that startling knowledge gap , the House of Representatives voted 301-118 on Wednesday to renew controversial amendments contained in the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, more commonly known as the Warrantless Wiretapping Bill.
The vote was an important step toward giving the federal government five more years of broad spying powers. Particularly contentious clauses contained in FISA allow the warrantless interception of Americans’ international communications. So great is the secrecy around FISA and its application that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has even declined to tell a group of senators roughly how many Americans have been monitored under the law, saying it was “beyond the capacity” of the NSA to keep tabs on the numbers….
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