An Illusion of Safety: Why Congress Should Let FISA's Lone Wolf Amendment Expire

39 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2020

Date Written: March 3, 2020

Abstract

FISA’s lone wolf amendment is set to expire on March 15, 2020. Created in the wake of 9/11 to address evolving threats — specifically, lone wolf terrorists — it has served no useful purpose. It has never been used in the course of a government investigation, despite the significant number of lone wolf attacks that have occurred during its existence. A look at the legislative history reveals that the “gap” in the intelligence architecture that the amendment was supposed to fill never even existed. And it is doubtful that the amendment would ever be able to effectively confront lone wolves. Some argue that because the lone wolf amendment has done no harm, it should be renewed, just in case it might be needed some day. But this article argues that Congress should instead use this as an opportunity to exercise its oversight role, let the lone wolf amendment expire, and create the tools to actually address the lone wolf threat.

Keywords: Lone Wolf, FISA, Terrorist, Terrorism, Surveillance

Suggested Citation

Minopoli, Salvatore, An Illusion of Safety: Why Congress Should Let FISA's Lone Wolf Amendment Expire (March 3, 2020). National Security Law Brief, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3547760

Salvatore Minopoli (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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