Home > Rights > FISA court renews spying on all Americans, but apparently its OK because they told us this time?

FISA court renews spying on all Americans, but apparently its OK because they told us this time?

July 20, 2013

Security Camera by Peter Griffin

Yesterday the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement to let it be known that they are going to keep spying on all Americans. Here is the statement released (Italic added by me):

July 19, 2013

   Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Renews Authority to Collect Telephony Metadata
As indicated by a previously classified court order disclosed by the media on June 5, 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorization requiring the production of certain telephony metadata under the “business records” provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. Section 1861, expires on July 19, 2013.

On June 6, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence declassified certain information about this telephony metadata collection program in order to provide the public with a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program. Consistent with his prior declassification decision and in light of the significant and continuing public interest in the telephony metadata collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the Government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the Court renewed that authority.

The Administration is undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security.

Take notice of the section I put an italic emphasis on. Out of the goodness of his hearts James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, has decided to allow us to know about the NSA’s decision. Does this come off as slightly egotistic? I can’t say I’m surprised. The NSA has no real oversight from Congress. Along with this non-oversight is a FISA court that rubber-stamps approval of NSA requests. Added together, the non-oversight of congress and the rubber-stamp of FISA court, one has the blueprints for a government agency that feels they are beyond the Constitution.

I watched the House Intelligence Committee on NSA operations hearing about a month ago. It was appalling. Most of the time was spent by Representatives cheering the NSA on and asking what Congress could do to help the NSA. Some, such as Rep Bachmann, kept insisting that whistle-blowers like Snowden are the true scandal. It was quite apparent watching the hearing that the NSA and Congress believe spying on all Americans is OK when 9/11 is invoked. During the hearing 9/11 was invoked more than once, and it was implied that if NSA had been spying on all Americans before that tragedy that it would have been avoided.

It is sad times when the Federal government is caught spying on all Americans. To make it worse Congress is actually acting like cheer-leaders to the NSA. American citizens have to start holding their elected officials accountable for their actions (or non-actions). If we do not hold them accountable, soon we may find that no area of our life will be safe from centralized scrutiny. I dearly hope that is a future nobody wants!

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