NSA's surveillance of citizens echoes 1970s controversy
Before Bush's secret order, the NSA operated under strict limits on domestic intelligence collection. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 set up a secret federal court that must approve requests for the NSA to conduct surveillance against anyone in the USA suspected of being an "agent of a foreign power," such as a terrorist group.
Revelations in 1975 of CIA misdeeds led to an investigation by a committee headed by then-senator Frank Church. The committee published a report in 1976 that uncovered three cases of NSA spying on Americans.
"Here we are, 30 years later, revisiting the whole issue," said Matthew Aid, a historian who has written about the NSA.
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