Article from Reason by Joe Setyon.

The federal government can use the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on journalists. So said a pair of 2015 Justice Department memos, including one from then–Attorney General Eric Holder.

FISA is controversial in itself. The act is supposed to be used to justify surveillance on foreign targets. But as Reason‘s Scott Shackford has explained, intelligence agencies often use it to secretly spy on American citizens, sometimes without a warrant.

According to the newly released documents, obtaining permission to surveil members of the media is not easy, but it is possible. In one memo, dated March 19, Holder says FISA applications against journalists must be approved by the attorney general and deputy attorney general prior to being brought before a FISA court.

In the other memo, dated January 8, the deputy attorney general writes that “the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General shall retain discretion to refer such FISA applications to the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division for Disposition.”

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Haxorjoe [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], from Wikimedia Commons