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President Obama Reauthorizes 5 More Years of Warrantless Wiretapping

President Obama reauthorized an extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a bill originally signed by President George W. Bush, which allows the U.S. government  to eavesdrop on the emails and phone calls for another five years without a warrant.

Ironically, FISA was first signed into law in the 1970s in order to restrict domestic spying within the United States, reports

Despite a large grassroots campaign from privacy advocates and civil liberties organizations to oppose the warrantless wiretapping,  the Senate approved a five-year extension of the legislation, 73-23, on Friday.

The law allows the U.S. government to monitor overseas phone calls and emails without obtaining a court order, even if one of the participants is an American.

If only Americans are targeted for surveillance, the U.S. government must get a warrant from a secret 11-judge court of U.S. district judges (whose identities are not known) appointed by the Supreme Court.

On Sunday night, President Obama signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 behind closed doors. He had previously opposed the warrantless wiretapping when he was a U.S. senator.


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