Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate amended (08/24/1976)

(Reported to Senate from the Committee on Intelligence Activities (Government Operations) with amendment, S. Rept. 94-1161)

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - Requires the Chief Justice of the United States to publicly designate seven district court judges, each of whom shall have jurisdiction to hear applications for and grant orders approving electronic surveillance anywhere within the United States. Removes the jurisdiction of any judge so designated over any such application which has been previously denied by another judge designated under this Act. Requires the Chief Justice to publicly designate three Federal judges to comprise a special court of review which shall have jurisdiction to review the denial of any application. Grants the United States a right to appeal an affirmance of denial to the Supreme Court.

Requires each application for any order approving electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes to be approved by the Attorney General and to include: (1) the identity of the Federal officer making the application; (2) the authority conferred on the applicant by the President and the approval of the Attorney General to make the application; (3) the identity of the target of the surveillance; (4) the fact and circumstances justifying belief that the target of surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; (5) a statement of the procedures to minimize the acquisition, retention, and dissemination, and to require the expunging of information relating to permanent resident aliens or citizens of the United States; (6) a factual description of the nature of the information sought; (7) a certification by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs or other official that the information sought is foreign intelligence information which cannot be obtained by normal investigative techniques; (8) the means by which the surveillance will be effected; (9) a statement of the facts regarding and previous applications with respect to the same targets; and (10) a statement of the period of time for which the electronic surveillance is required to be maintained.

Directs the judge to enter an ex parte order as requested or as modified approving the electronic surveillance if he finds that the criteria specified have been met. Allows the issuance of orders to approve surveillance for 90 days or the period necessary to achieve its purposes, whichever is less. Permits extensions of orders upon application for an extension made in the same manner as required for an original application, and after new findings of probable cause have been made.

Authorizes the Attorney General, upon a reasonable determination that an emergency situation exists, to authorize the emergency employment of electronic surveillance if the appropriate judge is informed by the Attorney General of such authorization at the time it is made and if an application is made as soon as practicable but not more than 24 hours after authorization. Stipulates that the Attorney General must require pursuant to such emergency employment of electronic surveillance the minimization procedures required by this Act. Requires, in the absence of a judicial order, that surveillance terminate when the information sought is obtained, when the application for an order is denied, or 24 hours after authorization, whichever is earliest.

Prohibits the use of any information as evidence in any trial or hearing where such information was obtained without an order or where an application for such order was denied.

Allows information acquired from electronic surveillance conducted pursuant to this Act to be used and disclosed only for designated foreign intelligence purposes or for the enforcement of the criminal law.

Requires the Government to notify the court of the source of the information and requires the court to determine that the surveillance was conducted in a lawful manner.

Permits motions to suppress the contents of any communication acquired by electronic surveillance on the basis that (1) the communication was unlawfully intercepted; (2) the authorization order is insufficient on its face; or (3) the interception was not made in conformity with the authorization order.

Requires, when an order to approve the emergency employment of electronic surveillance is not obtained, that the judge serve notice on the individual subject to surveillance of the fact of the application, the period of surveillance, and the fact that information was or was not obtained. Permits the judge to delay or forego this action on a showing of good cause.

Requires the Attorney General to submit an annual report to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts and to Congress including: (1) the number of applications made for orders and extensions of orders approving electronic surveillance and the number of such orders and extensions granted, modified, and denied; (2) the periods of time for which orders authorized surveillances and their actual duration; (3) the number of surveillances in place at any time during the preceding year; and (4) the number of surveillances terminated during the preceding year. Declares that nothing contained in this Act shall be deemed to limit the authority of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate to obtain such information.

Declares that nothing contained in this Act shall affect the exercise of any constitutional power the President may have subject to determination by the courts to acquire foreign intelligence information.

Permits the introduction into evidence of information acquired by authority of the President where such acquisition was reasonable.

Imposes a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both for violations of this Act.

Revises the provision relating to interception and disclosure of wire or oral communications to add "radio communication" to wire communication.

Authorizes court orders issued under this Act to direct communications common carriers to provide specified assistance to governmental agents implementing the order.

Authorizes Federal Communications Commission employees to engage in electronic surveillance in discharge of monitoring responsibilities exercised by the Commission.

Provides statutory authorization for the government to conduct tests of equipment which may result in the interception of domestic communications.

Prohibits the use as evidence of any communication or information obtained from electronic surveillance obtained in violation of this Act.

Grants a civil cause of action to any person, except an agent of a foreign power, who has been subject to electronic surveillance in violation of this Act.

Directs the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate to report annually to the Senate on the implementation of this Act. Prescribes legislative procedures to be followed when such Committee determines amendments to this Act are necessary.