Another editorial from The New York Times relevant to the U.S. Government's criminal abuse of surveillance to subvert the 1st Amendment.
The Court That May Not Be Heard
Last week, the court denied a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to release portions of past rulings that would explain how it has interpreted the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. There are legitimate national security concerns at stake, but the court should share its legal reasoning with the public.
After the 9/11 attacks, the National Security Agency for years engaged in domestic spying that violated both FISA and the Constitution. Earlier this year, after a court ruled that the program was illegal, the Bush administration said that in the future it would conduct surveillance with the approval of the intelligence court. At the same time, it announced that a judge of the court had issued orders setting out how the program could proceed.
The administration has repeatedly referred to these orders, but has refused to make them public. As a result, it is impossible for the American people — and even some members of Congress — to know how the court reached its conclusions, or the state of the law with respect to domestic surveillance.
Appoints the members of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (or FISC), a "secret court" which oversees requests for surveillance warrants by federal police agencies (primarily the F.B.I.) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the United States. (see ).