Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


FISA violation stands out in surveillance ruling

The ruling this week by US District Judge Taylor struck down the secret wiretapping program, put in place by the Bush Administration, as unconstitutional. According to the ruling, the program violates the law on several fronts. Taylor declared the program goes against the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, the separation of powers doctrine, and not least of which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

FISA was put in place after Watergate and codified a procedure by which the government can conduct wiretaps on suspects by getting a warrant from the FISA court. In urgent cases, FISA also provides a remedy whereby the government can go forward with a wiretap without a warrant as long as it later justifies its actions before the FISA court. Under the Bush administration's program, they've simply been conducting surveillance without going to FISA, before or after the fact, leading to the judge's ruling Thursday.

Glenn Greenwald breaks down the ruling point by point.


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