National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1987-: We the People are still making history

December 16, 2005
The NY Times reports the NSA is conducting warrantless electronic surveillance of American citizens

President Bush tours the National Security Agency

Today, the Times reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) is conducting a surveillance program of warrantless domestic wiretapping in the US. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush authorized the NSA to intercept international phone calls and e-mail messages if a supervisor believed there was a link to the Al Qaeda terrorist network. Under the spy program, the surveillance can be conducted on Americans without first obtaining court approval.

Administration critics maintain that this warrantless surveillance of American citizens violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Security Act (FISA), which was passed in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal. The Bush administration maintains that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists.

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