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Public Statements

FISA Amendments Act of 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

FISA Amendments Act of 2008

Mr. MARSHALL. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, may I engage the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee for purposes of a colloquy.

Mr. CONYERS. Of course.

Mr. REYES. I would be happy to oblige my good friend from Georgia.

Mr. MARSHALL. I would like to clarify some elements of the process to be established under title II of the bill we debate today. Title II of the bill would assist the telecommunications carriers in dealing with the civil lawsuits they currently face by permitting them to use classified information in defense of claims against them.

I want to be clear that any review of classified information would only take place in the judge's chambers without the plaintiffs or their representatives present. The bill requires the judge to follow the procedures in section 106(f) of FISA.

Am I correct in my understanding that section 106(f) of FISA requires that the review of any classified information must take place in camera and ex parte and that such classified information must remain secret, that it is not to be disclosed to the plaintiffs, their representatives or any others except those authorized to receive such information by virtue of their security clearances?

Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Marshall, I couldn't put it any more appropriately myself.

Mr. REYES. That is correct.

Mr. MARSHALL. I would also like to clarify what sort of trial would be involved in this process. Am I correct in my understanding that under the bill being debated, if this judicial process in any way involves classified information, the classified portion of the trial would be conducted by a judge without a jury; the judge would privately inspect, but not reveal, classified information relevant to the case; and that the process would be limited to the in camera ex parte procedures already outlined in FISA?

Mr. REYES. That is correct.

Mr. CONYERS. I agree, as well.

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