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Nearly 40,000 surveillance requests
kind of ironic how hard loyal Bushies argues that the FISA courts were an unreasonable burden to him when they wanted a wiretap.
Bush clearly has a part to play in the weakening of FISA's role, but you're comparing apples to oranges here.
***"It's a very different role that the FISA court is playing now than it played five years ago,"*** Jaffer says. "The FISA court is just reviewing at a very programmatic level: Is the government targeting only international communications, or is it impermissibly targeting domestic ones? That's the only question that the FISA court asks."
In short, the FISA court is now far more removed from the specifics of targeting people for surveillance.
Former National Security Agency general counsel Stewart Baker concedes the point. "But let's remember that the reason they lost that authority was some aggressive actions on the court to enforce what was called the wall between intelligence and law enforcement," Baker says. "That may have cost us our best chance at catching the 9/11 hijackers ... before the hijackings."
As a result, the FISA court became "less a court than an administrative entity or ministerial clerk," says William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University. "They weren't reviewing law anymore; they were simply sort of stamping papers as approved or filed."
After 2008, Banks adds, the FISA court didn't "have a substantive review of these directives that come down the pike."
President Obama says federal judges have been the recently exposed government surveillance programs. But few, if any, experts in the Bush or Obama administrations believe that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has the enforcement teeth it once had.
That does not change the point that Bush ignored the FISA courts, bypassing them all together. Remember warrantless wiretaps?
Agree. In no way am I exonerating Bush for the part that he played. I was simply pointing out the reason why we are seeing these things rubberstamped.
Does it matter? FISA "court" is a JOKE no matter who's President!!!
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