Update: The Washington Post reports that "The House voted 300 to 118 to extend the law for five years. The Senate likely will not take up the bill until after the Nov. 6 election."
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The House is set to vote Wednesday on the reauthorizing of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act (FAA), which allowed the government to conduct warrantless wiretapping of Americans.
The ACLU's Michelle Richardson, a FISA expert, writes that the FAA "permits the government to get year-long orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications—including phone calls, emails, and internet records—for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence. The orders need not specify who is going to be spied on or even allege that the targets did anything wrong. The only guarantees that the FAA gives are that no specific American will be targeted for wiretapping and that some (classified) rules about the use of intercepted information will be followed."
"After four years, you’d hope that some basic information or parameters of such a massive spying program would be divulged to the public, or at least your rank-and-file member of Congress, but they haven't," writes Richardson.
C-SPAN is carrying live video of the debate taking place on the House floor.