It appears that at long last even the U.S. Senate is getting tired of the Intelligence Community’s dissembling on the abuse of §702 of the FISA act. They are insisting that they be informed of the number of Americans caught up in §702 surveillance. The answer should be essentially none because it’s against the law for Americans to be targeted.

Of course, as we know from Snowden and declassified FISA orders, thousands (or more)of Americans are routinely having their communications swept up in NSA operations. The point is, we don’t know because the Intelligence Community, despite numerous promises to do so, has refused to give the legislators the number.

The senators, finally, are fed up. They have, it turns out, a big stick to use to break the information free. Section 702 is up for renewal this year and there is a growing bipartisan willingness to hold up the reauthorization if the spooks don’t start playing by the rules. The usual suspects, of course, are trying to push through a permanent renewal with no changes but perhaps this time senators who have actually read the Fourth Amendment will prevail. One can only hope.

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