Friday, June 21, 2013

FISA court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process

Obama and other NSA defenders insist there are robust limitations on surveillance but the documents show otherwise –

Glenn Greenwald 6/18/13

Since we began began publishing stories about the NSA's massive domestic spying apparatus, various NSA defenders – beginning with President Obama - have sought to assure the public that this is all done under robust judicial oversight. "When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls," he proclaimed on June 7 when responding to our story about the bulk collection of telephone records, adding that the program is "fully overseen" by "the Fisa court, a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them". Obama told Charlie Rose last night:……. Top secret documents obtained by the Guardian illustrate what the Fisa court actually does – and does not do – when purporting to engage in "oversight" over the NSA's domestic spying. That process lacks many of the safeguards that Obama, the House GOP, and various media defenders of the NSA are trying to lead the public to believe exist.  No individualized warrants required under 2008 Fisa law…..The decision to begin listening to someone's phone calls or read their emails is made exclusively by NSA analysts and their "line supervisors". There is no outside scrutiny, and certainly no Fisa court involvement. As the NSA itself explained in its guidelines submitted to the Fisa court:….To Read More….

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