Saturday, June 08, 2013

Court finds NSA surveillance unconstitutional. Administration's response: keep the ruling secret and carry on

It turns out that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2011 found that the NSA's surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional.  Why doesn't anyone know this? Because the decision was kept secret:
In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion that found the National Security Agency's surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the surveillance at issue [then] was carried out under the same controversial legal authority that underlies the NSA’s recently-revealed PRISM program.
It gets worse:
The government’s argument is guaranteed to make heads spin. DOJ earlier argued that it lacks discretion to release the FISC opinion without the FISC's consent, but DOJ now argues that if the FISC were to agree with EFF, “the consequence would be that the Government could release the opinion or any portion of it in its discretion.” But FISC material is classified solely because the Executive Branch demands that it be, so release of the opinion has always been a matter of Executive discretion.
In other words, the FISC should rule against the EFF because to do otherwise would require the release of this secret ruling.  But the ruling is only secret because the administration insisted that it be kept secret!  I can hardly conceive of a more twisted and cynical manipulation of the law.

This is not what the American people signed up for.


Anonymous said...

How unsettling when there is nothing more to say.

Anonymous said...

this ruling was in 2007 under bush the protect america act was then written and voted on and just renewed for 5 years in 2012

Ron said...

The EFF site says it was a 2011 ruling, but it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the Obama administration is taking the position that the ruling should remain secret.

Anonymous said...

Both sides democrats or republicans suck you really want change how about this TERM LIMITS people. Make laws that who ever is involved with laws ( I.e... congress, president, cops, judge's)
Double the fine and twice the time if you break the law. And another one would be we the people decide when they get pay raises in congress not them.

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