January 27, 2006
Welcome to my Washington Update, an e-mail newsletter for the constituents of California's 29th Congressional District. Through these quick-read updates, I hope to keep you informed of progress being made in Washington, D.C. and at home on public policy issues of interest to our communities.
Committee Members Probe NSA Surveillance Programs
Congressman Adam Schiff and Judiciary Committee Democrates held a forum on the National Security Ageny's (NSA) surveillance procedures. On December 16th the New York Times reported that the President seretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on calls to and from the United States, including the conversations of Americans, without court approval. Although there is a court -- the FISA court -- established by Congress to review and approve such electronic surveillance, the Administration did not seek FISA court authorization.
"Electronic surveillance of Americans on American soil, without court approval, appears to violate the terms of the FISA law and Congressional intent that such eavesdropping only be conducted by cour order," said Congressman Schiff. "The FISA court has a long track record of speedy approval where the matter is urgent, and I find no justification for the Administration's bypassing of this Congressionally mandated safeguard." The Congressional Research Service, a non-partisan research arm of Congress concluded in a recent report that "it appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here under discussion..."
Schiff Congratulates JPL on Mars Rover's 2nd Anniversary
This week, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) marked the second year in space for the Mars Exploration Rovers. Congressman Schiff continues to work in Congress to ensure JPL receives essential federal funding. He recently met with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin to discuss spending priorities in the upcomming budget.
"I will never forget the excitement in the control room when the rovers first landed," said Congressman Schiff. "Because of the years of hard work and commitment of everyone at JPL, scientists around the world have benefited from the images and information gathered by the rovers."
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