Update: This bill was amended before the floor vote on 5/22/14. An overview of the amended version can be found here, and an article on the bill's passage here. Meanwhile, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), has filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that is "materially identical" to the original version of the bill, in an attempt to get that original version reconsidered via the annual defense spending bill. The content of that version is offered below.
This bill would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a U.S. federal law which authorizes, among other things, electronic surveillance and data collection, with a significant purpose of such surveillance and data collection to obtain intelligence on foreign powers, terrorists and spies. Introduced by Sen. Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Sensenbreener (R-WI), the bill:
-Purports to end all bulk collection of American phone and internet records by revising Patriot Act language to require the government to only collection "relevant and material" records related specifically to foreign terrorism or clandestine activities;
-Closes a loophole that currently allows the NSA to mine its databases for Americans' communications;
-Tightens oversight of so-called "national security letters," in which the FBI asserts that a foreign agent is working on American soil;
-Introduces a special advocate to support civil liberties in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court;
-Moves up the closing date of the FISA Amendments Act from December 2017 to June 2015. The Amendments Act permits the government to not keep records of searches and destroy records of existing searches; increase warrantless surveillance from 48 hours to 7 days, and grant immunity to telecommunications companies complicit in government surveillance, among other provisions.