Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended, Part I (12/16/2009)

USA PATRIOT Act Amendments Act of 2009 - Title I: USA PATRIOT Act Related Amendments - (Sec. 101) Amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to require an ex parte order for electronic surveillance to contain specific information as to whether a surveillance target is a foreign power, an agent of a foreign power, or a specific individual.

(Sec. 102) Amends the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 to extend until December 31, 2013, provisions authorizing: (1) roving electronic surveillance; and (2) the production of tangible things (including books, records, papers, and documents) for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

(Sec. 103) Amends FISA to revise criteria for applications for access to business records in counterterrorism investigations to require an applicant to present a statement of facts and circumstances relied upon to justify the applicant's belief that the records sought are relevant to an authorized terrorism investigation. Repeals the presumption in favor of the government that an application for records is relevant to an investigation. Imposes similar requirements for access to library records and bookseller information.

Requires the government to notify the recipient of a nondisclosure order (a prohibition against disclosing the receipt or contents of a national security letter) of the right to challenge such order in court. Authorizes a judge to assess compliance with minimization procedures applicable to a FISA order for the production of tangible things.

(Sec. 104) Amends the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to allow the expiration, effective February 28, 2010, of provisions revising the definition of an "agent of a foreign power" to include any non-U.S. person who engages in international terrorism or preparatory activities ("lone wolf" provision).

(Sec. 105) Requires the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct audits on orders for records, national security letters, and pen register and trap and trace devices (devices for recording incoming and outgoing telephone numbers) for all calendar years through 2013, and to submit a report on such audits to the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

(Sec. 106) Amends the federal criminal code to reduce (from 30 to 7 days after the date of execution) the period during which notice of a search warrant in a criminal investigation may be delayed. Permits additional 21-day extensions of such period upon a showing by a U.S. attorney that execution of a warrant may endanger an individual or otherwise jeopardize an investigation or delay a trial.

(Sec. 107) Amends FISA to modify the standards for applications to obtain pen registers and trap and trace devices to require: (1) a statement of facts relied upon to justify the belief of the applicant that the information sought is relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation; and (2) a statement of proposed procedures for the minimization of the retention and dissemination of information obtained through the use of such devices.

(Sec. 108) Amends FISA to require separate public reporting of requests for electronic surveillance, physical searches, pen registers, and orders for tangible things in the semiannual report of the Attorney General on persons targeted for investigation under FISA.

(Sec. 109) Amends the federal criminal code to allow a provider of a electronic communication service or a remote computing service to challenge a court order for disclosure of customer communications or records in the U.S. district court in which such order was issued or served.

(Sec. 110) Requires the President to submit to the House and Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees a report on whether operations conducted under FISA authority could be modified to enhance protections for civil liberties and on the nature and cost of any potential modifications.

Title II: National Security Letter Reform - National Security Letter Reform Act of 2009 - (Sec. 202) Terminates on December 31, 2013, the authorities for issuance of a national security letter.

(Sec. 203) Defines "national security letter" as a request for information under certain provisions of the federal criminal code relating to access to records of communication service providers, the Right to Financial Privacy Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the National Security Act of 1947.

(Sec. 204) Prohibits the issuance of a national security letter unless the official having authority over such issuance documents in a separate writing specific and articulable facts showing reasonable grounds to believe that the information sought: (1) pertains to a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; (2) is relevant to the activities of a suspected agent of a foreign power that is the subject of an authorized investigation; or (3) pertains to an individual in contact with, or personally known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power that is the subject of an authorized investigation.

(Sec. 205) Requires notice to the recipient of a national security letter subject to a nondisclosure requirement: (1) of the right to judicial review of such requirement; and (2) that such requirement will remain in effect during the pendency of any judicial review.

(Sec. 206) Prohibits disclosure of any information acquired by a national security letter for law enforcement purposes unless such disclosure contains a statement that such information may only be used in a criminal proceeding with the advance authorization of the Attorney General or an authorized designee.

(Sec. 207) Expands procedures for obtaining judicial review of government requirements for nondisclosure of the issuance of a national security letter. Requires any application for a nondisclosure order (or an extension of an existing order) to include a certification from the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, an Assistant Attorney General, or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that disclosure may cause a danger to national security, interfere with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interfere with diplomatic relations, or endanger the life or physical safety of any person. Requires the government to notify the recipient of a national security letter if the factual basis for such letter has ceased to exist.

(Sec. 208) Directs the Attorney General to establish and submit to the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees procedures minimizing the acquisition, retention, and dissemination by the FBI of any records received by the FBI in response to a national security letter.

(Sec. 209) Modifies reporting requirements for national security letters to require a breakdown of the types of persons targeted (e.g., U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons) and whether such persons are subjects of authorized national security investigations.

Title III: General Provisions - Expresses the sense of Congress that the President should periodically review the level of classification of programs that make use of national security letters or authorities under FISA to determine if such programs can be declassified, in whole or in part, without interfering with an ongoing investigation or otherwise threatening national security.