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Ruled by secrecy: FISA Court now rivals the Supreme Court

July 7, 2013

Change in the air
And they’ll hide everywhere
And no one knows who’s in control

You’re working so hard
And you’re never in charge

  Those are partial lyrics from a song by the band Muse entitled ‘Ruled by secrecy’ and when I read this New York Times (yes, New York Times story) story I immediately thought of this song.

  It seems as if this controversial and mysterious court has been accumulating power over the years and now actually rivals the Supreme Court on some Constitutional issues.

In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.

The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.

   The FISA court operates in secrecy and yet has seemingly expanded its role to the point where the ‘F’ no longer stands for ‘Foreign’ as this court has recently authorized broad based data mining on virtually all domestic phone calls without a warrant and without a specific threat. 

  And all of this is happening at a time when the Congress (including many supposed Tea Party members) voted to deem the United States a battlefield on the war on terror through the NDAA, and this act also allows for the detaining of American citizens indefinitely and without charges.

  We are entering dangerous times and once again I find myself asking the question, what will it take for the American people to rise up and say enough is enough? I think that process has begun, I just wonder if there is enough time left…..

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce permalink
    July 7, 2013 11:22 pm

    The older I get, the dumber I get. Nothing makes sense to me anymore. I thought that the so-called economic collapse would have done more to shake things up, but little has changed other than the feds getting a lot more power and small business got ruined. .
    All I can think about is Animal Farm, and 1984, both fantastic futuristic examples of everything being turned upside down; right means wrong, war means peace, love means hate and on and on.
    As long as the left controls the schools and the media, I don’t think there will ever be a new generation to stand up to government control.


    • July 8, 2013 5:50 am

      I hear you there, every time a story comes up like this I think it will wake the people up and each time I am disappointed.


  2. Chris permalink
    July 8, 2013 9:17 am

    The NYTimes story doesn’t pass the smell test. I really distrust newspaper stories because of their sloppy handling of facts and their hidden agenda . The article is compelling reading but it lacks any links to facts. Supposedly no one knows the actual details of the court’s rulings. Why is the DOJ making so many request. The FISA court members are appointed by John Roberts. Though Roberts is seen as a conservative is he really? If he was, he should have complained to somebody – on second thought I think with McCain and Graham that was a non starter. The FISA court powers were expanded by the Dem’s and BO. So is there any commonality between all the players? Is FISA being used by everyone to expanded the federal governments power.


    • July 8, 2013 6:54 pm

      I recently saw a quote on FB which is attributed to mark Twain which goes like this: If you do not read the newspapers you are uninformed, if you read the newspapers you are misinformed and that may be the case here, but I still feel as if the FISA court is assuming power not granted to it and I feel as if this is a threat to the constitution and our rights and I am very concerned about it!


  3. Chris permalink
    July 8, 2013 8:11 pm

    The bigger problem is the US can’t do national security. We have too many agencies and too many laws, We have CIA, FBI, NSA etc. The intelligence community is too bloated. Just like the other federal agencies is time to audit how we are doing intelligence and start cutting and repealing.

    ave a real problem when We hMajor Hasan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sit in jail at taxpayer expense. If our system was not broken these two have been executedby now. But since we are so PC we are tripping all over ourselves.


    • July 8, 2013 8:16 pm

      I could not agree more! Just another example of the national government being to big for its own good! It is a sin that these people, and Nadal Hassan, have not already been tried and hanged if found guilty.


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