We have our first legislative proposal to catch some of the Snowden scandal fallout, and it comes from an expected source: The Senate’s happy group of libertarian-minded Democrats and Republicans.
This bill would require the Attorney General to declassify significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions, allowing Americans to know how broad of a legal authority the government is claiming to spy on Americans under the PATRIOT Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
So the same thing was actually attempted in 2012, when FISA was up for renewal, before an election. (It’s always an election year when this stuff happens.) At that time Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley wanted the Obama administration to fulfill an executive order that the new president had signed with some fanfare: Release FISA court opinions that approved surveillence with “significant interpretations” of the law’s usage. It got 37 votes.