The basics of what you need to know about the FISA Amendments Act:
- The law legalizes a massive electronic operation to spy on the personal communications of millions of Americans within the United States, and does so retroactively - in spite of the ban in the Constitution on ex post facto laws
- The law allows physical searches of Americans' homes and places of work without a search warrant or any other evidence that the target is suspected of any crime at all
- The law allows the same kind of unaccountable spying on electronic communications. That includes using telephone calls, emails, web page use, and GPS devices to track where American citizens go, who they associate with, what they do and what they say
- The law establishes the Attorney General of the United States as an unstoppable spymaster. The Attorney General is granted the power to run spy programs that only he has the power to review. The Attorney General has the power to declare, without any proof, that his spy operations are legal - even if they really aren't. No judge, not even a FISA judge, has the power to contradict this declaration. No one anywhere in government, except the President, has the power to stop the Attorney General from spying on anyone the Attorney General wants to spy on.
- The problem is bipartisan: Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress voted for this terrible law.