A friend of mine sent me an email based on recent reports that “On Friday, the Senate passed the FISA Amendments Act which gives the government the ability to electronically monitor the phone calls, e-mails and other communications of Americans without a probable cause warrant as long as they can claim that one of the parties to the communication is believed to be outside of the U.S.”
The average American is unconcerned that the FISA Act authorizes the federal government to make warrantless wiretaps of phone calls made from the “U.S.” to Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan. The vast majority of Americans will never make a call to a foreign country “outside of the U.S.,” so the vast majority don’t care if the government can wire tap calls to foreign countries without a warrant. But the average American’s indifference to these warrantless wiretaps is based on the assumption that the phrase “outside the U.S.” necessarily applies only to calls made to foreign countries.
My friend, however, asked, “I wonder if ‘outside the U.S.‘ means to the government what it does to us?”