"Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A."
ONCE-SECRET COURT HANDS VAST NEW POWERS TO N.S.A. TO CONTINUE SPYING ON AMERICANS.
THE SECRETIVE ALL-POWERFUL "FISA" COURT, UNLIKE THE SUPREME COURT, HEARS ONLY ONE SIDE OF EVERY CASE, AND ITS FINDINGS, UP TO NOW AND ONLY SINCE THE SNOWDEN LEAKS, ARE NEVER MADE PUBLIC.
THE PUBLIC IS BARRED.
THE HEARINGS ARE CLASSIFIED.
AMERICANS HAVE NO RIGHT TO KNOW.
THIS COURT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1979, EXPANDED IN 2002, AND CONGRESS HAS OKAYED IT REPEATEDLY!
A PERVERSION OF THE JUDICIAL PROCESS.
<<From the start [in 1979], the Fisa court [FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE COURT] was a radical perversion of the judicial process. It convened in total secrecy and its rulings were classified. The standard the government had to meet was not the traditional "probable cause" burden imposed by the Fourth Amendment but a significantly diluted standard. There was nothing adversarial about the proceeding: only the Justice Department (DOJ) was permitted to be present, but not any lawyers for the targets of the eavesdropping request, who were not notified. Reflecting its utter lack of real independence, the court itself was housed in the DOJ.
Once this lawbreaking was revealed by the New York Times in late 2005, the response from the DC political class was not to punish the responsible government officials for their lawbreaking, but rather to enact a new law (called the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008) that, in essence, simply legalized the warrantless eavesdropping scheme of the Bush administration.
Although candidate Obama pretended to have serious concerns about the law (when he voted for it) and vowed to rein in its excesses, his administration last year demanded the renewal of this law with no reforms, and Congress, on a fully bipartisan basis, complied.>>
YOU CAN NEVER HOPE TO HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD IN THIS COURT!
IT IS A "GOVERNMENT ONLY", TIGHTLY CLOSED, "CLASSIFIED" COURT WHERE ONLY GOVERNMENT JUDGES AND LAWYERS ARE ALLOWED!
"Secret Court's Redefinition of 'Relevant' Empowered Vast NSA Data-Gathering"
<< In classified orders starting in the mid-2000s, the court accepted that "relevant" could be broadened to permit an entire database of records on millions of people, in contrast to a more conservative interpretation widely applied in criminal cases, in which only some of those records would likely be allowed, according to people familiar with the ruling.
The 'relevant' language was added to the Patriot Act when it came up for reauthorization; it was signed by President Bush in 2006. Under the Patriot Act, the Federal Bureau of Investigation can require businesses to hand over "tangible things," including "records," as long as the FBI shows it is reasonable to believe the things are "relevant to an authorized investigation" into international terrorism or foreign intelligence activities.
"Relevance is a very broad standard that could arguably justify the collection of all kinds of information about law-abiding Americans," former Sen. Russ Feingold said on the Senate floor in February 2006. He argued for stricter wording, and failed.>>
BUT A WORSE COURT MAY BE COMING!
"Support grows for U.S. "drone court" to review lethal strikes"
THIS COURT WOULD "RULE" ON DRONE ATTACKS TO KILL AMERICAN CITIZENS!
As former Pentagon chief counsel Jeh Johnson put it in a speech last month discussing this proposal:
"Its proceedings would necessarily be ex parte and in secret, and, like a FISA court, I suspect almost all of the government's applications would be granted, because, like a FISA application, the government would be sure to present a compelling case. "
Feb 8, 2013
<<The idea [of a drone court] is being actively considered, according to a White House official.
At Thursday's confirmation hearing for CIA director nominee John Brennan, senators discussed establishing a secret court or tribunal to rule on the validity of cases that U.S. intelligence agencies draw up for killing suspected militants using drones.
The court could be modeled on an existing court [the FISA court][ which examines applications for electronic eavesdropping on suspected spies or terrorists.
Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned the need for creating a new court to review drone targeting lists.
"We have courts that are fully capable and experienced" in dealing with sensitive national security matters, he said. Federal courts in Washington, New York City, and Alexandria, Virginia, routinely handle highly classified materials yet operate with more transparency and more independence than the ultra-secretive foreign intelligence court, Anders said.
Geoffrey Robertson, one of Britain's most prominent human rights lawyers, described the current U.S. drone-strike policy as "execution without trial" and "international killing (which) ... violates the right to life."
Robertson said that in his interpretation of international law, any court set up to review candidates for possible drone attacks would have to publish target lists, so that those listed would have an opportunity either to give themselves up or be able to have friends or relatives petition for their removal from the lists.
"This should be an open process," Robertson said.>>
EVEN A YEAR AGO, FEW HAD EVER HEARD OF THE "FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE COURT", AND EVEN FEWER WOULD KNOW HOW THIS COURT OBTAINED THE SAME POWER THAT THE NATION'S SUPREME COURT ENJOYS.
THIS 11-MEMBER COURT, KNOWN AS THE "FISA COURT", WAS ONCE PRIMARILY IN CHARGE OF APPROVALS FOR WIRETAPPING ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. IT HAD NO CONCERN WITH AMERICAN CITIZENS, AT LEAST NONE THAT WE KNEW OF.
A SHORT TIME AGO, HOWEVER, A TOP SECRET WARRANT ISSUED BY THE FISA COURT WAS LEAKED TO THE MEDIA BY EDWARD SNOWDEN.
THAT WARRANT ORDERED VERIZON TO PROVIDE DAILY FEEDS TO THE N.S.A. OF ALL, ALL, ALL CALL DETAIL RECORDS.
THE POWER OF THE FISA COURT WAS OUTED, AMERICA SAW ITSELF AS THE N.S.A. SEES US, AS POSSIBLE TERRORISTS.
ALL MEETINGS OF THE FISA COURT ARE HELD IN STRICT SECRET, ALL HEARINGS ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC AND TO NEWS MEDIA. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS.
NO ATTORNEYS OTHER THAN FEDERAL/GOVERNMENT ATTORNEYS MAY PARTICIPATE IN THESE HEARINGS.
THESE HEARINGS CAN AND DO TAKE PLACE AROUND THE CLOCK, EVERY DAY, INCLUDING HOLIDAYS.
EACH "APPLICATION" FOR A WARRANT IS MADE BY AN INDIVIDUAL JUDGE OF THE FISA COURT.
YOU MUST BE AWARE THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CAN DECLARE AN EMERGENCY AND AUTHORIZE, ON HIS OWN, AN "EMERGENCY EMPLOYMENT OF ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE" BEFORE/WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION FROM FISA.
HE MERELY HAS TO GIVE NOTICE TO THE COURT THAT HE INTENDS TO DO SO.
THIS BLATANTLY FLIES IN THE FACE OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION'S SEPARATION OF DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE, JUDICIAL, AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES OF OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
WARRANTS ARE SELDOM DENIED.
IN 25 YEARS, FROM 1979-2004, 18,742 WERE GRANTED AND ONLY 4 WERE DENIED., ALL FROM 2003.
SINCE 2004, ANOTHER 15,207 WARRANTS WERE APPROVED, AND ONLY 7 WERE DENIED, 4 IN 2007.
IN DECEMBER, 2005, THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTED THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAD BEEN CONDUCTING SURVEILLANCE ON AMERICAN CITIZENS SINCE 2002 WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF OR INVOLVEMENT OF THE FISA COURT.
[SOURCE: "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts", New York Times, December 16, 2005 , http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00F1FFF3D540C758DDDAB0994DD404482]
<<Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible ''dirty numbers'' linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The previously undisclosed decision to permit some eavesdropping inside the country without court approval was a major shift in American intelligence-gathering practices, particularly for the National Security Agency, whose mission is to spy on communications abroad. As a result, some officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches.
The [BUSH] White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting. Some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists has been omitted. >>
YOU NEED TO REALIZE THAT THIS "SECRET" COURT SITS "EX PARTE", WITH ONLY THE FEDERALLY APPOINTED JUDGES AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ATTORNEYS PRESENT AT ANY/ALL HEARINGS.
<<The 11 judges on the panel are selected from the pool of sitting federal judges by the Chief Justice of the United States. Members serve staggered terms of up to seven years, and at least three must live in the Washington area.>>
[SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/secret-court-judges-upset-at-portrayal-of-collaboration-with-government/2013/06/29/ed73fb68-e01b-11e2-b94a-452948b95ca8_story.html ]
<<The document portrays the surveillance court as “amenable” to the government’s legal theory to “re-create” authority for the Internet metadata program that had initially been authorized by President George W. Bush without court or congressional approval. The program was shut down in March 2004 when acting Attorney General James B. Comey and senior leaders at the Justice Department threatened to resign over what they felt was an illegal program.
The perception that the court works too closely with the government arises in large part from the tribunal’s “ex parte” nature, which means that unlike in a traditional court, there is no legal sparring between adversaries with the judge as arbiter. Instead, a Justice Department official makes the case for the government agency seeking permission to carry out surveillance inside the United States. No one speaks for the target of the surveillance or the company that is ordered to allow its networks to be tapped or to turn over its customers’ data.
On July 14, 2004, the surveillance court for the first time approved the gathering of information by the NSA, which created the equivalent of a digital vault to hold Internet metadata. Kollar-Kotelly’s order authorized the metadata program under a FISA provision known as the “pen register/trap and trace,” or PRTT.
The ruling was a secret not just to the public and most of Congress, but to all of Kollar-Kotelly’s surveillance court colleagues. Under orders from the president, none of the court’s other 10 members could be told about the Internet metadata program, which was one prong of a larger and highly classified data-gathering effort known as the President’s Surveillance Program, or PSP.
The court also agreed in 2007 to permit the government to collect the content of e-mails and phone calls to and from the United States when “there is probable cause to believe” that one of the parties is a member of al-Qaeda or an associated terrorist group. That program, known today as PRISM and described in documents obtained by The Washington Post, eventually was authorized by Congress.
THIS TYPE OF SECRECY AND EXCLUSION ALSO FLIES IN THE FACE OF OUR CONSTITUTION.
SUCH THINGS WERE NEVER SUPPOSED TO EXIST IN AMERICA!
IN ESSENCE, WARRANTS ARE GRANTED FOR SPYING ON AMERICAN CITIZENS WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND WITHOUT THEM BEING ABLE TO REPRESENT THEIR CASE BEFORE THESE "JUDGES".
AMERICANS ARE BASICALLY "TRIED" AND WARRANTS GRANTED WITHOUT THEIR PRESENCE, WITHOUT EVIDENCE BEING PRESENTED BY THE PEOPLE ON WHOM THESE WARRANTS ARE "SERVED", BUT THEY NEVER EVEN KNOW, USUALLY, THAT THEY ARE BEING SPIED ON.
ANY OF THESE WARRANTS COULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED FOR THE N.S.A. TO SPY ON YOU, ON ME, ON ANYONE.
WHAT ARE WE GUILTY OF, AND WHAT COURT HAS FOUND US GUILTY THAT WE SHOULD BE TREATED AS "ENEMIES OF THE STATE"?
THE CONGRESS HAS BEEN NEGLIGENT OR IMPOTENT TO SHINE A LIGHT ON THE SECRET PROCEEDINGS OF THIS "KANGAROO COURT".
<<A 2003 Senate Judiciary Committee "Interim Report on FBI Oversight", sub-titled "FISA Implementation Failures", cited the "unnecessary secrecy" of the FISA Court among its "most important conclusions":
"The secrecy of individual FISA cases is certainly necessary, but this secrecy has been extended to the most basic legal and procedural aspects of the FISA, which should not be secret. This unnecessary secrecy contributed to the deficiencies that have hamstrung the implementation of the FISA. Much more information, including all unclassified opinions and operating rules of the FISA Court and Court of Review, should be made public and/or provided to the Congress.">>
[SOURCE: ^ Leahy, Senator Patrick; Grassley, Senator Charles; Specter, Senator Arlen (February 2003). "Interim Report on FBI Oversight in the 107th Congress by the Senate Judiciary Committee: FISA Implementation Failures", http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_rpt/fisa.html ]
THAT DOCUMENT IS A REAL EYE-OPENER, CITIZENS!
AND IT'S 10 YEARS OLD!
TEN YEARS OF SPYING GONE UNCHECKED!
ABOUT THOSE "JUDGES"...JUDGES APPOINTED BY ANOTHER JUDGE...A FEDERAL JUDGE...THE CHIEF JUSTICE...
THIS PDF SHINES A LIGHT ON THEIR APPOINTMENTS BY ONE MAN, ONE JUDGE.
THE MAJORITY, OVER 70%, OF "APPOINTEES" HAVE BEEN OF A REPUBLICAN PERSUASION, CONSERVATIVES APPOINTED BY A CONSERVATIVE, AND, LIKE THE MAJORITY OF FEDERAL JUDGES, ALSO REPUBLICAN/CONSERVATIVE, THEY HAVE RULED IN LIKE MANNER, AGAINST THE FOURTH AMENDMENT, FOR BIG GOVERNMENT, FOR FEDERAL RULE OVER CIVIL RIGHTS, FOR UNCLE SAM OVER JOE Q. CITIZEN.
YOU DON'T HAVE THE CHANCE OF A SNOWBALL IN A BLAST FURNACE, CITIZENS, IF EVER YOUR NAME COMES BEFORE THIS COURT!
THEIR RECORD SHOWS THAT THEY "RULED", AS HAVE THEIR COHORTS ON OTHER FEDERAL BENCHES, ALMOST 90% FOR THE GOVERNMENT, AGAINST ITS OWN CITIZENS.
<<This project examines the choices [THE CHIEF JUSTICE] made using several criteria, and concludes that the Rehnquist FISA judges were a conservative cohort inclined to favor the government on Fourth Amendment issues during their normal judicial work.
IN 2002,Congress expanded the FISA Court from seven to eleven district judges, all
of whom serve staggered, non-renewable terms of no more than seven years.
Service on the FISA Court is a part-time position. The judges rotate through the court periodically and maintain regular district court caseloads in their home courts. The Chief Justice is empowered to select the FISA Court judges from among all existing federal district court judges,including senior judges.>>
DO YOU SEE THE INHERENT DANGER IN SUCH "APPOINTMENTS"?
THIS IS IN NO WAY CONSTITUTIONAL!
TENNESSEE STATE REPRESENTATIVE MIKE STEWART SAID ON JUNE 20, 2013, IN THE TENNESSEAN, << "' A rubber stamp of the first order, this “court” has apparently ruled in favor of government surveillance in over 99.9 percent of cases. This is by design: Because it handles all cases involving certain wiretaps and intercepts, it must process hundreds of cases a year and rely heavily on teams of government attorneys who maintain a relentless drumbeat for intrusion into the lives of our citizens. In light of recent revelations, the inadequacy of the so-called FISA court is presumably beyond debate.
This raises the question: Why did a nation with an independent federal judiciary that has for two centuries been the envy of the world take matters of vital national importance away from its regularly appointed judges in the first place? Why not simply have our federal courts oversee the critical interplay between our national security establishment and the citizens that it exists to protect?
Security contractors and their allies in government no doubt have an army of lobbyists, “consultant” legal scholars and former government officials ready to serve up hundreds of reasons why our regular courts, which routinely handle billion-dollar cases and matters of life and death, are somehow inadequate to oversee the rights of Americans in the context of national security. Nonsense.
THE FACT IS THAT EVERY FEDERAL JUDGE UNDERGOES AN ELABORATE VETTING PROCESS THAT FAR EXCEEDS THE TOP-SECRET-CLEARANCE INVESTIGATION I RECEIVED AS AN ARMY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER.
Unlike the FISA court, the federal judiciary operates outside Washington and is likely to show little deference to people like Mike McConnell, the former NSA director who has made a fortune persuading his former colleagues to shell out billions to private contractors to facilitate widespread spying on regular Americans.
Unlike the FISA court, our federal courts will not be easily captured by the security establishment and, even without any change to the underlying secrecy laws, will provide real as opposed to illusory protection for the rights which remain the birthright of every American.'">>
[SOURCE:"Federal judges should oversee national security cases" http://www.tennessean.com/article/20130621/OPINION03/306210083/Federal-judges-should-oversee-national-security-cases?nclick_check=1]
ESTABLISHED UNDER THE "FEDERAL INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT OF 1978 [50 U.S.C. § 1803, Pub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1788, enacted October 25, 1978], THIS COURT WAS ONLY SUPPOSED TO OVERSEE REQUESTS FOR SURVEILLANCE WARRANTS AGAINST SUSPECTED FOREIGN, UNDERLINE FOREIGN, INTELLIGENCE AGENTS INSIDE THE USA.
THE COURT WAS CREATED BY THE CHURCH COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
[ A United States 'Senate Select Committee' to study 'Governmental Operations' with respect to Intelligence Activities, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) in 1975, a precursor to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.]
RIGHT AWAY, WE HAD A PROBLEM.
IT WENT BEYOND "FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE", INTO SOMETHING AMERICANS, FOR THE MOST PART, ARE STILL UNAWARE OF, A COMMON OCCURRENCE THAT STILL HAPPENS EVERY DAY.
<<The Church Committee learned that beginning in the 1950s, the CIA and Federal Bureau of Investigation intercepted, opened and photographed more than 215,000 pieces of mail by the time the program called "HTLINGUAL" was shut down in 1973. This program was all done under the "mail covers" program. A mail cover is when the government records without a warrant or notification all information on the outside of an envelope or package, including the name of the sender and the recipient. The Church report found that the CIA was zealous about keeping the United States Postal Service from learning that mail was being opened by government agents. CIA agents moved mail to a private room to open the mail or in some cases opened envelopes at night after stuffing them in briefcases or coat pockets to deceive postal officials.>>
[SOURCE: Benjamin, Mark (January 5 2007). "The government is reading your mail." Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/2007/01/05/mail_cover/ ]
MORE OLD, FAMILIAR "PLAYERS" ENTERED THE FRAY.
<<On May 9 1975, the Church Committee decided to call acting CIA director William Colby. That same day Ford's top advisers (Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Philip W. Buchen, and John Marsh) drafted a recommendation that Colby be authorized to brief only rather than testify, and that he would be told to discuss only the general subject, with details of specific covert actions to be avoided except for realistic hypotheticals. But the Church Committee had full authority to call a hearing and require Colby's testimony.
Ford and his top advisers met with Colby to "prepare" him for the hearing.
[SOURCE: Prados, John (2006). Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512847-5. p. 313 ]
The Ford administration, particularly Rumsfeld, was concerned about the effort by members of the Church Committee in the Senate and the Pike Committee in the House to curtail the power of U.S. intelligence agencies. Frontline quoted U.S. diplomat and Nixon assistant Robert Ellsworth, who stated: "They were very specific about their effort to destroy American intelligence [capabilities]. It was Senator Church who said our intelligence agencies were 'rogue elephants.' They were supposedly out there assassinating people and playing dirty tricks and so forth... Well, that just wasn't true." Rumsfeld and Ellsworth prevented the committees from dismantling the CIA and other intelligence organizations
AS A RESULT OF THE COMMITTEE'S FINDINGS, CIA DIRECTOR WILLIAM COLBY WAS REPLACED BY NONE OTHER THAN GEORGE H.W. BUSH.
FOR FURTHER READING, I VERY MUCH RECOMMEND THE BOOK THE SHADOW FACTORY BY JAMES BAMFORD.
Bamford describes a processing center at NSA's Fort Gordon, Georgia facility, and Operation Highlander, with which it was associated. The staff there analyzed satellite telephone signals (like Inmarsat) from all over the Middle East. They performed various operations such as matching up phone numbers with names of organizations or individuals, recording messages, finding the locations of cellphones, call chaining analysis, language identification and translation, and assigning 'importance' numbers to the "cuts" (recordings).
Bamford's book contains the statements of people who worked there.
There is a video interview with Bamford here:
Charlie Rose interviewed him on June 13, 2013 here:
SINCE 1979 ALL PRESIDENTS HAVE KNOWN ABOUT AND A FEW HAVE ACTUALLY EXPANDED THE SECRET COURT THAT HAS GRANTED THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THE "RIGHT" TO SPY ON 'WE, THE PEOPLE'.
EACH CONGRESS, ALL OF THEM, HAVE AGREED TO THIS.
WE WERE KEPT IN THE DARK, LIED TO, SPIED ON, BETRAYED.
WHEN OTHER MEN, CONGRESSMEN, FEDERAL JUDGES, EVEN CELEBRITIES TRIED TO WARN US, 'BLOW THE WHISTLE' ON THE N.S.A., ON FISA, ON THE SELLING-OUT OF AMERICA, WE IGNORED THEM.
NOW, EDWARD SNOWDEN HAS BLOWN A LOUDER WHISTLE, AND OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING ITS BEST TO CAPTURE HIM AND SILENCE HIM, AS IT HAS SO MANY BEFORE HIM.
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS KNOWN OF THIS SINCE BEFORE OBAMA WAS ELECTED. THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING TO SHUT THE FISA COURT DOWN AND END THE UNCONSTITUTIONAL SPYING BY THE N.S.A. ON ITS OWN CITIZENS.
NOW, THERE IS TALK OF A WORSE COURT, A DRONE COURT WHICH WILL, IF CREATED, MAKE A WAY FOR OUR GOVERNMENT AND MILITARY TO KILL AMERICANS BY DRONE.
WE CAN ALLOW THIS, WE CAN AGREE TO IT, OR WE CAN PROTEST IT AND DEMAND IT ALL END HERE AND NOW.
WE CAN STOP BEING RULED BY FEAR.
WE CAN STOP BEING A NATION OF COMPLACENT SHEEP.
WE CAN...IF WE WILL....
WE KNOW NOW...THAT ENDS OUR EXCUSES.
THAT SHOULD END OUR APATHY!