This just in, from a knowledgeable source on the FISA-update negotiations:
I understand that the bills they are considering dropped the second requirement of the Rockefeller bill — that the government must determine whether they’re picking up a significant number of calls into the US and get a FISA probable cause warrant if they are.
If so, that would be a big setback for the civil liberties side of the debate. According to the source, further surveillance of communications in the U.S. wouldnât require a probable cause warrant at all. Instead, the attorney general would have to certify to either FISA, Congress, or both â itâs not clear right now â that the initial surveillance authority granted by the FISA court isnât being abused. And if that’s the case, then the program would allow for massive domestic surveillance with practically no FISA Court review.
The Senate Dems entered into a caucus meeting an hour ago that I understand will lead to some news on the FISA-negotiation front. More soon.