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FISC limits US government ability to track foreign terror suspects over US networks

[JURIST] The US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [court rules, PDF; official backgrounder] restricted the government's monitoring of e-mail and telephone conversations of suspected terrorists in foreign countries in a ruling publicly disclosed Thursday. According to US House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH) [official website], the ruling limits the ability of US agencies to monitor communications between two suspected terrorists when the communications are on US networks. Some officials worry that this restriction will impair the ability of US agencies to track terrorism abroad.

President George W. Bush has recently pushed for "modernization" [JURIST report] of the governing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) [text; JURIST news archive] to meet the threat of terrorists who can now use cell phones and the Internet to communicate. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) [official websites] said that Democrats are willing to expand government surveillance [JURIST report] over foreign communications under the FISA, but disagreements with the White House over other issues may stall such amendments. The Los Angeles Times has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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