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Former Judge Admits Flaws With Secret FISA Court

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: James Robertson, NSA, surveillance, FISA, court, American Civil Liberties Union, metadata, flawed system )

- 2144 days ago -
James Robertson said the system is flawed because of its failure to allow legal adversaries to question the government's actions. Much of the NSA's surveillance is overseen by the FISA court, which meets in secret and renders rulings that are classified.


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Kit B (276)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 11:24 am

I probably should look up some this before trying to depend on memory, but I think it was in the late 60's when Congress tried to give full access to policing agencies for surveillance and wire tapping. The SCOTUS struck that down as unconstitutional in the early 70's and by the end of the 70's (78?) we had FISA. FISA only applies to Foreign governments, not to US citizens, or that was true, now the purpose of FISA has been greatly amended. I think that one of the many elements of the Patriot Act that bothers me is that for FISA subpoenas, which can be used to force anyone to hand over anything in complete secrecy, and which were greatly strengthened by Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The government doesn't have to show probable cause that the target is a foreign power or agent only that they are seeking the requested records "for" an intelligence or terrorism investigation. Once the government makes this assertion, the court must issue the subpoena. It's just peaches and cream that some believe a given president would NEVER do that, it's also painfully naive to believe they would not.

JL A (281)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 2:52 pm
I share Kit's concerns and am glad Robertson is speaking out to help educate all willing to listen.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 5:37 pm
So glad someone is finally speaking ouy

Christeen A (300)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 8:05 pm
There are always flaws in the system.

Edith B (146)
Tuesday July 9, 2013, 9:17 pm
Tried to send Kit a star, couldn't because I did in last 24 hrs. Thanks, Sheryl for posting. I am so tired of hearing from friends that it is to protect us, while our constitutional rights are being violated.

Carol Dreeszen (346)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 1:20 am
Thanks Sheryl!

MmAway M (519)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 1:51 am
Thank you Sheryl! BTW...Hugs and all the best on the way to YOU!!!

Edwin M (346)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 4:22 am
Thank you Sheryl

SusanAWAY A (219)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 7:22 am
Noted and shared

Judith H (55)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 10:37 am
Noted. Oh, yeah, I got it.

Sheila D (194)
Wednesday July 10, 2013, 6:18 pm
Our Constitutional rights seem to be disappearing right and, mostly to the right. I would like to know exactly what rights Baby Bush and the GOP took away from us. Exactly what rights do we have left??

Judy C (91)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 12:11 am
Thanks for this Dandelion. The issue of secrecy is very sticky, because our government should be of and for the People. Any secret court is a big concern, even though for everyone's security, there will be limited situations where some secrecy is necessary for the protection of our country. Roberts is making a sound argument for what seems like a balancing factor for the possibility of abuses of the system, if I understand this correctly. From the article:

"The oversight board is appointed by the president but reports to Congress. David Cole, a professor of constitutional and national security law at Georgetown University, said the board faces high expectations.

'Their very existence may make government officials more careful about their surveillance programs because they will know that a board empowered and obligated to report on privacy and civil liberties abuses exists,' Cole said".

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 5:24 am
I placed this on here as it gave a little more insight as to how things have been going and proposed solutions. I do feel, yes, for security that certain things to need to remain quiet, however, I get truly upset when I find how this is set up to begin with. One person can pick who these people are, most are of one Party, so on and so forth. If this has done anything it is to make sure that the American people are aware that this exists, that where it needs to be fixed it is fixed, and we need to keep in check too much power being abused.

There is a fine dance between our security and taking the plunge of being another Country we use to read about and we were warned about. By the fact this is being discussed at all is a good thing in my mind.

. (0)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 3:59 pm
Am still wrapping my mind around the fact that someone-anyone spoke up. Maybe there is hope

Lily T. (8)
Thursday July 11, 2013, 7:39 pm
Does it really matter Toni? We have a democratic elected Democratic President that has not only continued on much of the Bush/Cheney policies, but actually expanded them, legislated them, etc. The Ed Snowden NSA revelations demonstrates that we don't even want to engage in an honest discussion of "what America we want" which is what Snowden hoped to accomplish. I think that this is the point where we cross or don't cross the Rubicon. If we continue to allow the conversation to be about Ed Snowden or Glenn Greenwald, or what Snowden said on Facebook in 2009 and refuse to rise about our usual apathy, there is no return. If the status quo continues we have turned a corner, shutting the door on any ideal of a democratically governed state.

lee e (114)
Friday July 12, 2013, 8:40 am
Great discussion - thanks for the post!

Devon Leonard (54)
Sunday July 14, 2013, 11:33 am
What ever way this story is spun, It's common sense that someone reading my emails, listening to my phone conversations and texts is one and the same as sneaking into my mailbox and opening my mail..! Thats a federal crime!! We deserve the protection of our constitutional right of privacy...if we don't stand up for this, they could be lost..!!! I hope this very important issue will continue to be spot-lighted Dandelion and not just get swept under the rug of tomorrows news.............................!

Lily T. (8)
Sunday July 14, 2013, 11:39 am
I think the argument seems to be "I have nothing to hide". The privacy issues isn't about hiding anything and the argument that is too commonly used short sighted.

Sheryl G (359)
Sunday July 14, 2013, 3:10 pm
Indeed, we don't know who is looking at this information and how it could be used. Do I want someone going through my bedroom dressers, even if nothing is in them besides normal clothing. No. There is the right to have privacy as Devon said, be it my snail mail or my email.

Lois J (63)
Sunday July 14, 2013, 5:31 pm
Thanks for posting, Dandelion.
Kit mentioned exactly what I've been complaining about. FISA is for FOREIGN surveillance....nowhere does it say they are allowed to accumulate all domestic metadata. Unconstitutional. I don't care what reasoning they defend it with. And many are unconcerned because they're "not terrorists." Well, of course, neither am I....or is anyone I've ever "known" here at Care2. But, Barrett Brown was arrested simply for posting a link to the Stratfor site several months ago. And, how do we know who is calling our phones? I don't answer mine if I don't recognize the number, but many people do. I have no power over who sends me emails, either. I delete those I don't recognize. But, they're still in our metadata. And, who's to say this metadata can't be "compromised" by some nefarious people?

Sheryl G (359)
Monday July 15, 2013, 5:05 am
Exactly Lois. We have no control over what is coming in to us. We could be "used" to throw something off and point investigation into another way. People take our words out of context and could be used against us. Teens in joking are being held on large bails and lives ruined because of ill choice of words but had no real meaning behind it, in fact one wrote, lol, just kidding, and still his life has been turned upside down.
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