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(Tech Dirt)   Government: The FISA court effectively oversees the NSA's data collection programs. FISA Court: Yeah, not so much   (techdirt.com) divider line 29
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3842 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Aug 2013 at 12:23 PM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-22 12:32:29 PM
6 votes:
But, again, Snowden's the bad guy here, apparently.

We have a completely dysfunctional process here, in which it's clear that, thanks to the circumspect way this surveillance was implemented, the NSA has been spying on Americans without any effective form of oversight or control, and that many of the people involved have lied about it, repeatedly, to the very folks supposedly providing that oversight and control.

Remember, one of the big arguments used against Snowden is that he had adequate official channels that he could've used to report years of illegal, unethical activity by one of the nastiest organizations on the planet, rather than going public with classified information. It's pretty obvious that the argument is false. We have, instead, an interlocking chain of incredible ethical failure, from bottom to top, because no one looked too closely at a program that should've been scrutinized at every damned level.

Your government isn't just lying to you - it's lying to itself, too. It believes it has control over its more extreme elements, when it's obvious that those elements ran roughshod over those controls, your rights, and the damned Constitution, and did so because it could. And yet, that same government wants to pin all the blame on the whistleblower.
2013-08-22 12:34:20 PM
5 votes:
The people apologizing for the NSA have been slowly disappearing from these threads as more and more comes out about the extent of their lying.
2013-08-22 12:51:53 PM
4 votes:
2013-08-22 01:06:36 PM
3 votes:
About that whole "independent FISA Court" thing.

This is a panel of judges hand selected by John Roberts alone, with no oversight or input from anyone else.

Chief justice of the United States is a pretty big job. You lead the Supreme Court conferences where cases are discussed and voted on. You preside over oral arguments. When in the majority, you decide who writes the opinion. You get a cool robe that you can decorate with awesome gold stripes.

Oh, and one more thing: You have exclusive, unaccountable, lifetime power to shape the surveillance state.

To use its surveillance powers - tapping phones or reading e-mails - the federal government must ask permission of the court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A FISA judge can deny the request or force the government to limit the scope of its investigation. It's the only plausible check in the system. Whether it actually checks government surveillance power or acts as a rubber stamp is up to whichever FISA judge presides that day.

The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges don't need confirmation - by Congress or anyone else.

No other part of U.S. law works this way. The chief justice can't choose the judges who rule on health law, or preside over labor cases, or decide software patents. But when it comes to surveillance, the composition of the bench is entirely in his hands, and, as a result, so is the extent to which the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can spy on citizens.

"It really is up to these FISA judges to decide what the law means and what the NSA and FBI gets to do," said Julian Sanchez, a privacy scholar at the Cato Institute. "So Roberts is single-handedly choosing the people who get to decide how much surveillance we're subject to."


So you have to ask yourself if Roberts is using this power to reshape the court.

Well, DUH!


The recent leaks about government spying programs have focused attention on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its role in deciding how intrusive the government can be in the name of national security. Less mentioned has been the person who has been quietly reshaping the secret court: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

In making assignments to the court, Chief Justice Roberts, more than his predecessors, has chosen judges with conservative and executive branch backgrounds that critics say make the court more likely to defer to government arguments that domestic spying programs are necessary.

"Viewing this data, people with responsibility for national security ought to be very concerned about the impression and appearance, if not the reality, of bias - for favoring the executive branch in its applications for warrants and other action," said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and one of several lawmakers who have sought to change the way the court's judges are selected.
2013-08-22 12:43:45 PM
3 votes:

Stone Meadow: Oh, and I forgot...Manning and Snowden deserve to share this year's Nobel Peace Prize.


Man, that would make America collectively wet the bed. and it would be great.
2013-08-22 12:35:50 PM
3 votes:
Oh, and I forgot...Manning and Snowden deserve to share this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
2013-08-22 01:24:35 PM
2 votes:

UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: Headso: The people apologizing for the NSA have been slowly disappearing from these threads as more and more comes out about the extent of their lying.

I hope this is trending worldwide.


British government is going apeshiat.  I'm guessing their security state is even worse.  Not a stretch for a place with cctv cameras on every block.
2013-08-22 01:22:52 PM
2 votes:
As the Washington Post points out, this opinion, which details many instances in which the NSA flat out lied to the court, lends some credence to statements made by presiding judge Reggie Walton, who claimed the court. This opinion appears to detail the NSA setting up its own complicit court system, intentionally misleading it in order to continue its surveillance programs unabated.

I like the way this works.  If I go to the building code guy and tell him I'm building a shed, then I build a house, that's cool, right?

I got permission!
2013-08-22 12:58:19 PM
2 votes:
Let us not forget that, for all this money they spend so lavishly, (and appears to be exempt from sequestration,) they were unable to catch two terrorists from a country that exports war and mayhem, and instead had to impose martial law on Boston to make up for their looking in the wrong direction.

Or maybe they're really just concentrating on what they estimate is the biggest threat to THEM.
2013-08-22 12:41:53 PM
2 votes:
upl.co
2013-08-22 12:38:46 PM
2 votes:

Headso: The people apologizing for the NSA have been slowly disappearing from these threads as more and more comes out about the extent of their lying.


The best part is apparently the NSA doesn't know all the files Snowden has, so they say something one day and the next day the Guardian and the Post release "uh no that's a lie" documents proving it false.

So much backpedaling.
2013-08-22 12:33:39 PM
2 votes:

WTF Indeed: Obviously this public display of bureaucratic regulatory differences only further proves that America is a totalitarian state built on a mountain of lies and secrets functioning, albeit imperfect Democracy where governmental excesses are eventually reigned in.


Fixed that for you.
2013-08-22 12:32:26 PM
2 votes:
Just something to throw in the mix - if you use Google or Facebook, screw the government, you should just assume every company in America has its fist up your ass as far as your privacy is concerned.
2013-08-22 12:29:47 PM
2 votes:
>EFF did this.

If you haven't already donated to the EFF, do so *today*
2013-08-22 01:14:55 PM
1 votes:

Headso: The people apologizing for the NSA have been slowly disappearing from these threads as more and more comes out about the extent of their lying.


I hope this is trending worldwide.
2013-08-22 01:04:22 PM
1 votes:

BullBearMS: A federal judge sharply rebuked the National Security Agency in 2011 for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year, according to a secret ruling made public on Wednesday.


Yeah, only he didn't. A "sharp rebuke" would have entailed making it clear that further incidents would have resulted in senior NSA officials going to jail. Instead, he issued a "next time I'll write a strongly worded letter" rebuke, which is not the same thing at all.
2013-08-22 01:01:00 PM
1 votes:

bdub77: Besides, it only takes the wrong type of government once to really turn what is already operating into a stalinist nightmare.


Exactly. Giving the government this much power because you trust the guys currently in power is a very very shortsighted view.
2013-08-22 01:00:08 PM
1 votes:

HAMMERTOE: China White Tea: There are enough mewling quims who are terrified, first and foremost, of terrorists, that there will never be a sizable majority of people who want to see someone held accountable for this shiat.

As more and more people are finding out, we are all "terrorists" in their eyes. Suddenly, the mewling stops and gets replaced with, "Me?!? You're assuming I'm a terrorist?!? For all the money you waste, do you people even have a farking clue?"


My observations so far - admittedly, casual observations - have been that the people who love the state and think it can do no wrong tend to double down with each new revelation.  Switching positions means that not only do they have to admit that they were wrong about something (perish the thought), but that their beloved America isn't the great bastion of freedom and justice that they incessantly brag about at every last opportunity.  Who wants to deal with all of that when you can just grab your tiny American flag and patriotically declare, "NEVER AGAIN!"

e.g.:  http://swampland.time.com/2013/04/23/tread-on-me-the-case-for-freedom - from-terrorist-bombings-school-shootings-and-exploding-factories/
2013-08-22 12:54:02 PM
1 votes:

China White Tea: There are enough mewling quims who are terrified, first and foremost, of terrorists, that there will never be a sizable majority of people who want to see someone held accountable for this shiat.


As more and more people are finding out, we are all "terrorists" in their eyes. Suddenly, the mewling stops and gets replaced with, "Me?!? You're assuming I'm a terrorist?!? For all the money you waste, do you people even have a farking clue?"
2013-08-22 12:51:03 PM
1 votes:

LedZeppelinRule: You missed the fact that FISA was pretending to be upset that the NSA repeatedly was searching metadata using queries outside the scope of their authorization. And that's just what FISA was hoping the people hadn't found out about.


Really, they're just a rubber-stamp organization to lend the NSA the appearance of credibility. Since when have the Supremes seriously curtailed the power of runaway government?
2013-08-22 12:45:33 PM
1 votes:

DarnoKonrad: bdub77: Look at the number of rejections by that court. They probably didn't bother to even read the documents.Also, there's no other side defending the other side of the argument

The court rewrites request that don't comply with the Constitution rather than denying them outright.


And then I would guess the NSA takes said approval and fudges it, working their way right back to what they wanted to do in the first place "accidentally".
2013-08-22 12:45:15 PM
1 votes:

FormlessOne: But, again, Snowden's the bad guy here, apparently.

We have a completely dysfunctional process here, in which it's clear that, thanks to the circumspect way this surveillance was implemented, the NSA has been spying on Americans without any effective form of oversight or control, and that many of the people involved have lied about it, repeatedly, to the very folks supposedly providing that oversight and control.

Remember, one of the big arguments used against Snowden is that he had adequate official channels that he could've used to report years of illegal, unethical activity by one of the nastiest organizations on the planet, rather than going public with classified information. It's pretty obvious that the argument is false. We have, instead, an interlocking chain of incredible ethical failure, from bottom to top, because no one looked too closely at a program that should've been scrutinized at every damned level.

Your government isn't just lying to you - it's lying to itself, too. It believes it has control over its more extreme elements, when it's obvious that those elements ran roughshod over those controls, your rights, and the damned Constitution, and did so because it could. And yet, that same government wants to pin all the blame on the whistleblower.


This.^
2013-08-22 12:44:28 PM
1 votes:

bdub77: Bullsh*t. Look at the number of rejections by that court. They probably didn't bother to even read the documents.


they're still judges.  I'm willing to assume they are acting on good faith.

NSA says they need a warrant, who are they to question that?  they have no way to question that.
So, they have to trust the NSA is being honest.

Same with the congressional oversight committee.

Basically, the lesson is that you can't have proper oversight into an origination that is so secret, it can't tell you what it does.  So, how do we remedy that?

NSA feels that any transparency (or even legality) compromises their efforts to keep us safe.  And up until this point, government has agreed.
2013-08-22 12:42:49 PM
1 votes:
After last week's revelations extensive National Security Agency surveillance of phone and internet communications, President Barack Obama made it a point to assure Americans that, not to worry, there is plenty of oversight of his administration's snooping programs. "We've got congressional oversight and judicial oversight," he said Friday, referring in part to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which was created in 1979 to oversee Department of Justice requests for surveillance warrants against foreign agents suspected of espionage or terrorism in the United States. But the FISC has declined just 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance requests made by the government in 33 years, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. That's a rate of .03 percent, which raises questions about just how much judicial oversight is actually being provided.

That's a rubber stamp court. Oversight my f*cking ass.

From:
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/06/fisa-court-nsa-spying-opinio n- reject-request
2013-08-22 12:33:42 PM
1 votes:
You know they're scared when the finger-pointing starts.

It will ultimately fall on the NSA for overstepping it's authority.  Congress, the courts, the Obama administration will all say that Clapper bamboozled them.  More transparency and oversight will be put into place.

Which was the whole point all along.  The NSA cheats, and it needs a tighter leash.
2013-08-22 12:32:54 PM
1 votes:

bdub77: LOL. The FISA court. You mean the rubber stamp brigade? Even if the NSA wasn't lying to them, the FISA court hardly had any kind of oversight role. Nor does anyone have oversight over the FISA court.

The Stasis were never this good.


Things you got wrong:

1)The FISA court is upset that they aren't reporting all violations, even accidental, to them
2) The FISA court is overseen by the SCOTUS
2013-08-22 12:31:02 PM
1 votes:
They oversee as much as the NSA allows them to see.
2013-08-22 12:29:47 PM
1 votes:
LOL. The FISA court. You mean the rubber stamp brigade? Even if the NSA wasn't lying to them, the FISA court hardly had any kind of oversight role. Nor does anyone have oversight over the FISA court.

The Stasis were never this good.
2013-08-22 12:25:04 PM
1 votes:
financialpress.com
 
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