Protect America Act was an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The Act was signed by then-President George W. Bush on August 5, 2007.
Protect America Act had removed the requirement for a warrant to conduct the surveillance of foreign intelligence targets who are believed to be outside the United States. However, the FISA Amendment Act (FAA) 2008
FISA Amendments Act of 2008 reauthorized many provisions of Protect America Act in Title II of FISA.
This bill amended the FISA act in many ways including;
Warrant and Notification Requirement: The need of warrant was removed and systems of NSA internal controls were placed to conduct surveillance.
Domestic Wiretapping: The monitoring of all the electronic communications of American citizens who are communicating with the foreigners who are the targets of US terrorism investigation without a legal order.
It should be so long as it is not targeted at one particular individual believed to be inside the country.
Foreign Wiretapping: No warrant is required if the communication is foreign-related including when the communication involves a US location on the receiving or sending end of the communication.
Data Monitoring: The data monitoring of American citizens who are communicating the foreign persons was addressed in the bill. The FISA provision differs from this bill in that no discussion of the actions or character judgment of the target was needed for the implementation of the law.
Foreign agent declaration not needed: The status of the foreign agent is not required for surveillance and for the FISA warrant that is accorded by the FISC court.
Authorization power: this bill allows the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Attorney General to authorize the surveillance of all communications involving citizens outside the US (US citizens and non-US citizens).
The FISC was restricted by the bill to only reject or accept power for government guidelines related to persons (US and non-US citizens) targeted for Intelligence information gathering.
The DNI and Attorney General could authorize the acquisition of communication if they determine each of the following criteria has been met;
- There are reasonable processes for determining that the acquisition relates to the individuals reasonably believed to be present outside the United States.
- The acquisition doesn’t involve the electronic communication that means it does not constitute solely the domestic communications.
- The acquisition contains getting the communication data from or with the help of a communications service provider who has access to the communications.
- An important purpose of the acquisition is to get the foreign intelligence information.
- Minimization processes discussed in the FISA will be utilized.
You can get detailed information about Protect America Act here.