Congressional leaders and the White House agreed to revise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created a secret court to issue warrants for domestic spying in cases of terrorism and espionage.
Under the deal, which would expire in 2012:
· Telecom companies that assisted the government in warrantless surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks could be shielded from privacy lawsuits.
· Procedures for monitoring telephone calls and e-mails of foreigners would be approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Spying on U.S. citizens, including those overseas, would require individual warrants from the same court.
· The government would be prohibited from targeting a foreigner to secretly eavesdrop on an American's calls or e-mails without court approval.
· Officials could conduct emergency eavesdropping without a court order but would have to seek approval within a week.
-- Dan Eggen