CRS on Probable Cause and Reasonable Suspicion

02.08.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The terms “probable cause” and “reasonable suspicion” have almost become household words by now due to continuing public controversy over the legality of the NSA surveillance program.

The legal definitions of these terms were examined in a new memorandum prepared by the Congressional Research Service for the Senate Intelligence Committee. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See “Probable Cause, Reasonable Suspicion, and Reasonableness Standards in the Context of the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” January 30, 2006.

Two leading Democratic members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees wrote to the Director of the
Congressional Research Service yesterday to reject charges of CRS “bias” that were leveled by Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, last week.

“We write to correct the record,” wrote Senator Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jane Harman on February 7.

“We have found these CRS documents very helpful in conducting our oversight responsibilities, and disagree that they are ‘speculating with respect to highly sensitive national security matters’ as Chairman Hoekstra asserts.”

“Indeed, the legal analyses provided by CRS have been especially informative given the Executive Branch’s unwillingness to provide information to the Congress or to the American public as is appropriate,” they wrote.

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