Contact: Antonia Ferrier (202) 224-5344
Wednesday, March 8, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C -- Today, U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, joined with her Senate colleagues Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) in introducing legislation that would provide for congressional and judicial review over the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

"Today, the legislative branch demonstrated its constitutional prerogative by reasserting the necessary oversight over the executive. As such, Senators DeWine, Graham, Hagel and I introduced legislation that will ultimately provide significant legislative and judicial review over the National Security Agency's domestic counter-terrorism program. I believe this legislation will serve as a strong starting point to striking an appropriate balance to protect our national security in an increasingly technologically sophisticated time while sufficiently safeguarding the civil liberties of our citizens.

"As is evidenced by the Senate Intelligence Committee's action establishing a subcommittee over this program, we will be hitting the ground running to get the operational details we need to allow us to properly evaluate whether our legislation should be changed. Clearly our nation needs the best and most effective tools to combat a dangerous terrorist threat -- and I believe this NSA program is essential to that goal. In order to ensure its success, however, we have to ensure that the American people have the confidence that their government is working to protect their individual liberties through sufficient checks and balances."

Details on the legislation are below:

DeWine, Graham, Hagel, Snowe

Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006

Terrorist Surveillance Program

The Act permits warrantless surveillance for up to 45 days if:

FISA Court Review and Continuation of the Program

Under the Act, the President may continue electronic surveillance in 45-day increments as follows:

Creation of Subcommittee

The Act creates Terrorist Surveillance Subcommittees in both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to oversee and monitor all matters relating to the program.

Reporting Requirements

The President must provide the Subcommittees with full access to the Program, including the operational details of any surveillance conducted under the Act, whenever requested by the Subcommittees.

The President must review and reauthorize the surveillance program every 45 days and certify to Congress that all surveillance conducted during the previous 45 days satisfied the requirements of the law.

The Attorney General must review every 45 days all individual cases of electronic surveillance being conducted under the program and certify, under oath, why specific cases have not yet been referred to the FISA Court.

The President must submit a report to the Subcommittees every six months that provides details about the management, operation, and effectiveness of the surveillance program.


The Act establishes a five-year sunset.