Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


From the you may have missed it files

Last week, a judge from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA)
court quit in protest over the president's power grab where he has secretly authorized spying.

One thing I haven't seen emphasized enough is the FISA process. Apologists for the president have cited the need for the National Security Agency (NSA) to not have any delay when they're trying to track down potential terrorists. Therefore, this probably needs repeating to the point of beating it over some people's heads:

FISA allows surveillance and wiretaps to go forward without prior court approval if need be. It just requires that the government later justify its reasoning before the court.

As Josh Marshall recently noted, FISA has only denied four government applications for warrants since the court first came into being in 1979 (all four being in 2003). This begs the question as to why the secret program is necessary since the notion that the government must act without delay is not an issue after all.

To remove FISA from the process, as the Bush administration has done in this area, is to remove the very important constitutional idea of oversight from the Executive branch of government.

Ben at Badger Blues has more thoughts on this topic over at his site.


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