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FISC Chief Judge: We Can't Effectively Oversee the NSA

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the neither-can-the-NSA dept.

Government 185

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Washington Post: 'The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government's vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans. The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government's surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect Americans' privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government's assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.' President Obama said in June, 'We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They've got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and they're empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make sure that these programs aren't being abused.' Not so much, Mr. President."

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185 comments

I can't effectively promise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44588581)

That the NSA won't get their asses kicked.

Re:I can't effectively promise. (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44588649)

This form of dissent is unpatriotic, Citizen. Report to the nearest NSA facility for rehabilitation.

Re:I can't effectively promise. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44588811)

Report to the nearest NSA facility for rehabilitation.

I think they call them "Fusion Centers" now...

Re:I can't effectively promise. (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | about a year ago | (#44588919)

The NSA has worked out fusion?! Excellent, at least then some of the dollars spent might have a useful offshoot... if only we could get them to declassify it.

Re:I can't effectively promise. (2)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44589993)

Report to the nearest NSA facility for rehabilitation.

I think they call them "Fusion Centers" now...

I think they're called FEMA camps.

Re:I can't effectively promise. (1)

Revek (133289) | about a year ago | (#44590355)

Report to the nearest NSA facility for rehabilitation.

I think they call them "Fusion Centers" now...

I think they're called FEMA camps.

Happy Camps!

Re:I can't effectively promise. (1)

Thantik (1207112) | about a year ago | (#44590447)

Report to the nearest NSA facility for rehabilitation.

I think they call them "Fusion Centers" now...

I think they're called FEMA camps.

Happy Camps!

District 10.

Re:I can't effectively promise. (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#44589759)

Why am I suddenly reminded of the book chute [youtube.com] ?

I finally understand.... (4, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#44588651)

I have finally figured out why the statue holding 'the scales of justice' wore a blindfold! ;-)

Re:I finally understand.... (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#44588745)

Finley Dunne, American writer and humorist: "Justice is blind an' deaf an' dumb, an' has a wooden leg".

Re:I finally understand.... (4, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44588815)

Justice is...

...a pirate!

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44588877)

Which means the Executive is full of Ninjas!

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#44588951)

Of course! Now it all makes sense...

Re: I finally understand.... (-1, Offtopic)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44589383)

What, that average global temperature is leveling off?

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

jonyen (2633919) | about a year ago | (#44588967)

And the rest of us are just zombies.

What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590149)

A part of the US government that has proven it's unable to do its job?

INCONCEIVABLE!!!

Re:I finally understand.... (2)

code_monkey_steve (651206) | about a year ago | (#44588849)

Because her hands are full and she can't face-palm?

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44588895)

And surely stupid, because is the Hanlon's alternative to attribute what they are doing to malice.

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44589189)

I hear they're thinking of adding a clothespin on her nose.

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#44589551)

I have finally figured out why the statue holding 'the scales of justice' wore a blindfold! ;-)

I can't figure out why they didn't give her a cigarette. It is traditional to offer somebody a blindfold and a cig before they face a firing squad, after all...

Re:I finally understand.... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44590029)

I have finally figured out why the statue holding 'the scales of justice' wore a blindfold! ;-)

No witnesses to the payoff.

And the peices fall into place (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44588653)

One by one the cornerstones of represtitive government get kicked out of place and are used to pave the road to totalitarianism.

Re:And the peices fall into place (5, Informative)

lophophore (4087) | about a year ago | (#44588691)

"Change You Can Believe In"!

Re:And the peices fall into place (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#44588791)

Obama delivered on the Transparency though, can see right through him

Re:And the peices fall into place (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44589581)

Yeah, a lot of good that does. As you all keep on electing the same old crap, I sure hope none of you are expecting any better from his successor, or anybody else for the foreseeable future...

Re:And the peices fall into place (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44589889)

Obama delivered on the Transparency though, can see right through him

I think this statement was trying to say that he has obvious motives, or is ineffective at concealing his attempts at deception.

Re:And the peices fall into place (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44590167)

He's no more transparent than he ever was. It's only that people are looking a tiny bit more closely. His motives have been more than obvious since he first entered the arena of political gladiators' (more like the soap opera of professional wrestling). And please note, I'm not singling him out. This is the the very essence of the game.

Re:And the peices fall into place (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about a year ago | (#44590363)

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Supreme power only attracts the supremely corruptible.

It is hard for someone to catch you in a debate when you have taken every position on every issue at some point. There is always a sound byte of the correct answer available.

Re:And the peices fall into place (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44588805)

Can we wantonly spy on your Internet activities?
YES WE CAN!

Can we store your email and search it at our leisure?
YES WE CAN!

Can we create a judicial overview process so flimsy and one-sided that there's almost no chance of any request being turned down?
YES WE CAN!

Re:And the peices fall into place (-1, Flamebait)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590235)

Oh Puleeze. You Repukes pushed this shit through under the Bushit Abomination.

Obama may not be much better, but let's at least call a spade a spade.

Re:And the peices fall into place (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590419)

This isn't partisan hackery. Plenty of people who thought that Obama was going to make things better have been thoroughly disillusioned.

Re:And the peices fall into place (1, Flamebait)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#44590523)

This isn't partisan hackery. Plenty of people who thought that Obama was going to make things better have been thoroughly disillusioned.

OK, Constitutional Practice 101 time.

El Presidente is head of the Executive branch. He's also Head of State. His job is to implement laws voted into existence by Congress. Congress creates the laws, not El Presidente. The current El Presidente is stuck with a Congress that can't vote on a lunch menu let alone something like a budget, a jobs bill, a 'take care of the veterans' bill, and so forth. When the 'Opposition' screams at him to 'compromise', what they do is demand he do things their way, follow their agenda. And since the Opposition came to power with the platform of 'Let's screw the scary black guy so we can seize power in the next election', that's why you have 40 votes on repealing ACA/'Obamacare/Romneycare/whatever. That's the sole focus, waste time and clog the channels so nothing gets done so they can drop the blame on 'the scary black guy'. Case in point, Benghazi. Republicans voted to cut funding for embassy security worldwide, knowing it'd be just a matter of time before somebody took a swing at an embassy. They did, and the Republicans immediately started chopping down trees for a cross, sharpening nails, and digging up hammers.

What of 'Executive Orders', you say? Those are instruments for El Presidente to instruct, educate, illuminate, and motivate the Executive Branch. They have no legal standing outside the Executive Branch.

El Presidente needs some appointees confirmed? Too bad, this Congress ain't gonna do it, cause that would help El Presidente do his fucking job, and we just can't have that.

Re:And the peices fall into place (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year ago | (#44590619)

Which makes the prior house and senate makeup a bunch of weenies. They should have just pushed through what they wanted, ignoring any calls for bi-partisanship.

The electorate gave the prior house and senate a majority: they should have used it, not p*ssed it away.

Re:And the peices fall into place (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590427)

I don't think making fun of Obama's overused campaign catchphrase indicates that he's a Republican.

And I find Obama's transgressions worse, as his stated goals ran COUNTER to this yet he has in fact expanded it drastically.

For one, Bush was definitely for it but not at this scale.

For another, Bush is no longer president, nor even a major force, so you bringing him up is pointless blather.

Re:And the peices fall into place (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44590603)

What makes you think I'm a conservative?

Christ, half the Republicans in Congress don't want any legislative changes that might "compromise" safety.

Re:And the peices fall into place (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44588903)

"represtitive government"

Is that a portmanteau of "repressive representative" government?

Sigh... (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44588679)

Translation: The whole thing is a monumentally tragic, Constitution-violating fuck up, brought to you by two successive Administrations and a Congress that couldn't give a flying fuck about the Constitution.

What a pathetic situation.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44588753)

Amen to that

Re:Sigh... (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | about a year ago | (#44588763)

Pathetic? This is amazingly incredible! This is something that is so incredibly blatant, so ridiculously obvious, so patently indicative of the ultimate lack of care Government (as a concept; not just ours in particular) has about the rights of its citizens, that it at least has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting some people to change their minds about the nature of Government.

Or maybe I'm being overly optimistic...

Re:Sigh... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44588939)

Calm down. Here's some panem et circenses [go.com] .

Re:Sigh... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about a year ago | (#44589693)

Panem? How can you eat a TV programme?

Re:Sigh... (4, Insightful)

tolkienfan (892463) | about a year ago | (#44589019)

Nope.
This'll just mean the republicans will get in next time with a landslide.
People who vote think the system works. Voting reinforces that.
All of this will be blamed on Obama... and the next government will make some visible but ineffective changes. After running on "ending the spying" or some such.
They won't abolish these programs or punish the illegal spying. .. they'll add more "oversight".

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589433)

Hey, at least it's bipartisan douchebaggery!

Re:Sigh... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44589593)

Only two?? Where the hell have you been?

Re:Sigh... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year ago | (#44590057)

Translation: The whole thing is a monumentally tragic, Constitution-violating fuck up, brought to you by two successive Administrations and a Congress that couldn't give a flying fuck about the Constitution.

What a pathetic situation.

If you can't control it, then get rid of it before it gets bigger and multiplies.

Re:Sigh... (1)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590387)

Absolutely agreed.

Ain't it time to just clean the fucking house already? Just kick all the sob's out and put brand new ones in there.

If they're in, vote 'em OUT.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590611)

Right, never mind that generally the only viable alternative to the SOB who has the office is some other SOB from the other party who has no reason to actually fix things because BOTH parties are corrupt. Swapping one corrupt asshole for another corrupt asshole who is likely going to be even worse won't help anything.

from the horses mouth... (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#44588681)

nothing to see here, we are not doing anything illegal.
i wish I can use that same logic for IRS

Where is my data? (1)

NotFamous (827147) | about a year ago | (#44588697)

I can't see my data! Help, I have a bag over my head and I can't see my data. What should I do!

Re:Where is my data? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44588733)

Don't worry, son. Just take this pen and sign. I can assure that you're a true patriot.

And keep that bag on your head now. Only terrorists peek.

we don't have checks and balances (4, Insightful)

jsepeta (412566) | about a year ago | (#44588773)

we haven't had checks and balances in our government since the Gore V Bush decision, when Bush's dad's appointed supreme court ruled it's more important to abide by Florida's arbitrary date to count their votes than to count all the fucking votes using as much time as is necessary to insure an accurate count. why the fuck would anyone trust the US courts now? especially after the "corporations are people" decision.

Re:we don't have checks and balances (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44588929)

Dude, let it go [usatoday.com]

Re:we don't have checks and balances (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589929)

I don't think tangible fact is an issue for jsepeta.

Fireball (0)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about a year ago | (#44588777)

I seen something similar to this back during the 2001 Leonids. A large fireball crossed the sky then broke up into 2 smaller chunks and they continued on with their own own streaks. It was the most incredible meteor I ever seen. That whole shower was the best.

Re:Fireball (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about a year ago | (#44588831)

OOPS Wrong tab wrong article! Too many slashdot tabs open..Got to keep it to under 50.

Re:Fireball (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44589005)

OOPS Wrong tab wrong article! Too many slashdot tabs open..Got to keep it to under 50.

...and here I thought you were trying to say something deep about the two articles....

Is the US constitution being represented by the meteor?

Re:Fireball (1, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44588837)

And in other unrelated news, the Incredible Hulk has come out as gay. "Me like wearing the pink undies." he was quoted as saying. Reports suggest he's dating Aquaman, though Aquaman's agent had not returned our calls by press time.

Re:Fireball (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44588969)

You claim to have posted to the wrong article in your follow up, but it turns out you got it about right!

Are you violating anyone's right? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44588797)

NSA: Who, us? Nevar!

I Salute Your Courage! (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44588827)

So, your honor, please tell us why you didn't bring these concerns to our attention before somebody with more guts than you'll ever have brought the matter up?

Hell, you probably could have brought these concerns up without even revealing anything classified, or breaking any rules. They probably didn't remember to make it a state secret that you have no oversight powers worth mentioning, so it would have been entirely licit for you to complain about that.

We might as well be honest here: Every day that you knew you had no oversight; but remained as a FISC justice, much less chief justice, you knowingly operated as a rubber stamp and a pitiful facade of rule of law. A rubber stamp for a program that you cannot have been stupid enough to think was entirely on the up-and-up. Unimpressive. Cowardly. Unworthy of your office.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (2)

The Taco Prophet (538981) | about a year ago | (#44588987)

This. Yes. Thank you.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589259)

Um, anybody with the smallest bit of legal training would know that FISC judges, LIKE ALL JUDGES, are at the mercy of those walking into their court to provide them information. They are not investigators. They do not and cannot provide _actual_ oversight in the sense of actually seeking out corroborating information. Aside from a few trips to HQ to wrap their head around thing, the only contact they have with this underworld are the government attorneys walking into their court.

The judge should be lauded. He's stating something that is technically obvious, and doing so because he knows that politicians are abusing the public's ignorance of how the court works. This judge is going out on a limb and effectively making a purely political statement, because no actual attorney would have believed that the FISC court does anything but provide a very form of legal oversight, in the sense of sitting in a parlor and debating legal hypotheticals based on premises handed to them--which they have to assume are true.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (3, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44589683)

No, but what a judge can do if he feels that those laying out their case in front of him can do is refuse any ruling, or indeed throw out the request, if he feels he's been fed partial or incorrect knowledge.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44589885)

And, according to the publicly available figures, the FISC almost never refuses. Since its inception, it granted 33,942 requests and denied 11. A brutal .03% denial rate.

The current chief justice was appointed in mid 2007, so we can look more specifically at 2008-present:

2008: 2,082 requests, 2 modified, 1 denied.

2009: 1,329 requests, 14 modified, 1 denied.

2010: 1,511 requests, 14 modified, 1 denied.

2011: 1,676 requests, 30 modified, 0 denied.

2012: 1,789 requests, 40 modified, 0 denied.

He... certainly isn't letting his doubts slow him down.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (1)

NotBorg (829820) | about a year ago | (#44590597)

Rubber stamps are fast.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (4, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#44590053)

FISC judges, LIKE ALL JUDGES, are at the mercy of those walking into their court to provide them information

Then it wouldn't really be accurate to refer to that as "oversight", would it?

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (1)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590545)

More like Undersight.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590181)

Um, it is a judge's responsibility to withhold a ruling until an actual investigator provides them with enough information to make a sound ruling.

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44589959)

We might as well be honest here: Every day that you knew you had no oversight; but remained as a FISC justice, much less chief justice, you knowingly operated as a rubber stamp and a pitiful facade of rule of law. A rubber stamp for a program that you cannot have been stupid enough to think was entirely on the up-and-up. Unimpressive. Cowardly. Unworthy of your office.

What you missed to mentioned: it's a life-long tenure as a rubber stamp; he just happened he liked his life long (as opposed to NSA starting to spill whatever skeletons in his closet and/or the equivalent of whatever passed nowadays as sending-in-a-drone on US soil).

Re:I Salute Your Courage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590767)

It's odd to think that a mere ship captain is in charge of a ship, to the point of legal action against him. If the ship hits something, the captain is 100% liable, and if after the investigations are done, he might face jail time. And this is usually just some dude driving a ship, and some other dudes helping him a bit, and then there's a lot of cargo. If he fucks up, at most, like 30 people get wet, but that captain still may face jail time.

However, here we're talking about people that make decisions that effect the lives of billions. They can set the rules, break the rules, blame others for breaking the rules, case them around the fucking planet... nothing will happen to these people however. Know why? Because the people that should be out breaking shit in the streets, breaking down the civil class of being, breaking down the political powers in place.... they're all sitting around happily bragging to themselves that had their side been in office, things would be better. Finger-pointing is our justice, and everyone that's on our side understands our point. It's silly. At what point will people gather up the balls to fight the power like the black people in California did when Rodney King was beat up? Shit man, the black folks managed to rise up the last few times that any American rose up, and they had very good success.

Whatever color you are, you need to get to your own inner core and decide what you want your country to be. It's simply not enough to sit here, sigh, and say "This is horrible". Stop trying to be politically correct. Being politically correct is why we're all in this mess anyway.

misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44588833)

the fisc is for supervising fisa, as feinstein notes. the report detailed violations under eo12333. feinstein also notes the need to step up oversight of eo12333 by the intel committees, *not* the fisc court

Re:misleading (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44589051)

the fisc is for supervising fisa, as feinstein notes. the report detailed violations under eo12333. feinstein also notes the need to step up oversight of eo12333 by the intel committees, *not* the fisc court

' President Obama said in June, 'We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They've got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and they're empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make sure that these programs aren't being abused.'

Tell me please, who is it that is misleading here?

Re:misleading (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44589695)

Oh, I don't think the judges are being subjected to political pressure. Rather, I think they're being subjected to misinformation campaigns.

Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44588937)

If Obama knew his Constitution, he would know that Federal judges do NOT have "lifetime tenure".

"The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." -- U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 1. [emphasis added]

I think it is very much arguable that the FISA court judges, having "rubber stamped" nearly all surveillance requests, can be said to have violated "good behaviour".

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44589143)

Obama needs to stop talking about the NSA. No matter what he says, Snowden will pull out a document a few days later proving him wrong.

Instead, Obama should just stand up for his next speech or press conference . . . and just blow us all a Bronx Cheer.

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589339)

Except what you bolded does not invalidate what he said. "Tenure" is not irrevocable and does not imply any such thing. Tenure simply means you can't have your position revoked without just cause. So, yes, they do have lifetime tenure as long as they are not impeached (aka the "just cause" for being dismissed).

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year ago | (#44589379)

"Article III federal judges" (as opposed to judges of some courts with special jurisdictions) serve "during good behavior" (often paraphrased as appointed "for life"). Judges hold their seats until they resign, die, or are removed from office. Although the legal orthodoxy is that judges cannot be removed from office except by impeachment by the House of Representatives followed by conviction by the Senate, several legal scholars, including William Rehnquist, Saikrishna Prakash and Steven D. Smith, have argued that the Good Behaviour Clause may, in theory, permit removal by way of a writ of scire facias filed before a federal court, without resort to impeachment.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_judge#Tenure_and_salary [wikipedia.org]

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44590535)

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_judge#Tenure_and_salary"

And your point is?

I mean, thanks for confirming my point... not that Wikipedia is the supreme arbiter of such things. The words in the Constitution were not garbled, and their meaning is clear even today... no outdated phrasing to be seen. Good behavior is good behavior. If they don't behave, Congress can remove them. By impeachment, or even (as the last part implies) by other means.

Pretty much what I said.

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#44590003)

can be said to have violated "good behaviour".

Arguable to whom? We have Sens. Wyden, Udall, Paul, Lee, Sanders, Merkley - and that's pretty much it. That's six out of 100, leaving 94 Senators in support of the NSA's unconstitutional behavior. Only 1/3 of them are up for re-election next year and you can expect at least 2/3 of those will be returning. So, even after the next election, you might have, at best, 16 : 84 in the Senate.

For the same reason it's not even worth the effort to bring impeachment charges for any of it.

If there's to be change, that's not the way it's going to happen.

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#44590551)

"Arguable to whom? We have Sens. Wyden, Udall, Paul, Lee, Sanders, Merkley..."

Not really. You actually have more than that. Those are just the most outspoken ones. And others are starting to get pretty damned uncomfortable.

But more to the point: if PEOPLE put pressure on their Legislators, something will get done. This is the kind of thing that people DO remember, come election day.

Re:Obama is a "Constitutional Scholar"??? (1)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590561)

Well, I reckon it depends on who is signing those paychecks.

(Hint: It ain't you or me)

It's a concern that corrupt judges might be involv (1)

ozduo (2043408) | about a year ago | (#44588959)

"'We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure." but turn up with a suitcase stuffed with cash and they will set the wheels in motion to destroy your competitors.

They should just appoint a special investigator. (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44588977)

They should just appoint a special investigator.

They could give the investigator over-arching extra-legal authority, just like the agency he'd be investigating.

I hear Edward Snowden has some experience in this area, and is currently in need of a job...

Re:They should just appoint a special investigator (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44589071)

Oh, I'm sure they'll pick someone from the NSA who will report to the NSA, and the report will be sealed and we'll get to watch a press conference where the President intones very seriously "I won't comment on the contents of the report, but suffice to say you can trust me and there's nothing to worry about."

Re:They should just appoint a special investigator (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589335)

I don't want to intrude on the Obama bashing, but just to be very clear, every single Democratic and Republican leader has also been repeating this "I knowz the factz, for realz yall, and trust me it's all good."

A President saying "trust me... 'cause you have to" is not newsworthy. The fact that there's an fscking conspiracy by a cabal of United States Congressional leaders to keep the public in the dark is simply frightening. I mean... absolutely fscking frightening. I'm sure it's happened before, especially during the Cold War, but that's no excuse, because that was generations ago, and I'd like to think we've become more civilized.

The Bush years were so distressing to me that I actually went to and graduated from a top tier law school, in the middle of my career, just to wrap my head around our government. But what's happened in the past few months is absolutely blowing my mind. From the President, to Congressional leaders, down to the army of citizen apologists... I'm just gobsmacked.

Re:They should just appoint a special investigator (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44589765)

I'm not, because Congress long ago abandoned a key role as a check on the Executive in favor of near constant partisan bickering. The end result is little more than a bitching chamber, where the party on top pushes its agenda, the other party consumes itself in trying to fuck up that agenda and get to the top. They are basically blind to all other considerations, and a pure political animals, squared off into two warring tribes, who have no sense of civic duty, no sense of morality or any sense of their purpose.

Breach of constitionalrights a criminal offence? (1)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#44589915)

as a number of the nasty KKK creeps discovered when they were charged with such violations after state juries failed to convict. Therefore is there any reason why those making the 'human errors' can't be charged under similar legislation?

Re:They should just appoint a special investigator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44590115)

I propose Kenneth Starr.

"unintentional mistake" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589035)

Since when has that EVER been grounds for defense? That would've helped a lot in 6th grade when I set that trash bin on fire... Unintentionally. Jesus, they should have just claimed ignorance, a least then they'd have the understanding of %90 of the population.

Re:"unintentional mistake" (1)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about a year ago | (#44589113)

Unless you are asking for evidence to be thrown out or a conviction to be thrown out, you have always had approximately nonexistence rights for redress when it comes 4th Amendment violations. That is not news.

Hope and change, bitches! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589061)

Surprise. Surprise. Obummer lied.

Re:Hope and change, bitches! (1)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590629)

So did Jr and Little-Dicked Cheney

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44589361)

Who watches The Watchmen. By which, of course, I mean who has the DVD of The Watchmen and watches it? I thought it was pretty good myself. The montage during the opening credits was particularly well done.

'Star Chambers' control entities like the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589449)

Every major nation has so-called 'Star-Chambers'- groups of people usually drawn from all dominant groups amongst the elites who control the activities of many entities that are beyond the common knowledge of the sheeple. The members of the Star Chambers are NOT elected, but will include representatives from all the current major political parties. The common excuse for theses supra-democratic bodies is "continuity". In other words, freedom from the political vagaries caused by allowing the sheeple to THINK their ability to vote once every few years actually makes any real difference to the course of a nation.

NSA projects will stretch for decades. Each American fixed-term dictator that the Yanks call "President" has political interests that last for far less than a single decade at best. The Star Chamber system counters the pressure for short-term thinking in the political decision making.

Star Chambers are, of course, above the Law. Their members are usually people of 'good reputation' from politics, the military, civil service, religious bodies, business, law and science. They consider themselves superior to the sheeple, and therefore in a much better position to make those choices that will affect the lives of the sheeple for decades to come. The Star Chamber system is an obscenity, but almost impossible to displace, for obvious reasons.

We live in times when the abilities of a fully realised NSA are too good to resist.
-full surveillance of the population means real-time feedback describing the current mindset of any definable part of the population. This, combined with centralised control of the mainstream media provides the best possible feedback loop used to perfect propaganda campaigns.

-full surveillance also means you are aware of emerging grass-roots leaders and movements before the people involved comprehend their importance. This allows such people to be targeted for co-opting or extermination. No bottom-up threat (to the established elite) is EVER possible in a nation watched by a body like the NSA

-full surveillance also allows the gathering of blackmail material useful to coerce people in positions of influence or power. A single act of infidelity identified by the NSA, for instance, can ensure that individual 'gives' his support to Obama's plans to attack Iran.

The Star Chamber that actually oversees the NSA is never, ever going to turn down the opportunity to maximise the abilities listed above. No matter who you are stupid enough to think is in power, these abilities will serve them perfectly. Those that serve in the Star Chamber honestly think they have the best interests of the USA in mind, and by that I mean, of course, the best interests of those Humans that matter (here's a clue- that list does not include ordinary citizens).

You should know that historically, Star Chambers have proven themselves to be extremely vulnerable to manipulation by powerful, very NON-representative individuals or groups. The wide 'church' of membership that supposedly makes a Star Chamber reasonable is very very easily subverted.

Please research Bill Gates' recent operations, including his partnership with the NSA to create the Xbox One spy platform, and his obscene inBloom (company name chosen as a pedophile's code term for a child ready to be targeted) every child database currently being rolled out in NY and other locations in the USA. Gates is one that sits in several of the Star Chambers in the USA.

Re:'Star Chambers' control entities like the NSA (1)

bratwiz (635601) | about a year ago | (#44590637)

It wouldn't be so bad if EVERYBODY in the U.S. had a fair shot at the data collected, and to collect it on EVERYBODY from bottom to top, NO exceptions.

That could actually be interesting. Then I wonder who would be squirming.

Get more spies! (2)

Tim12s (209786) | about a year ago | (#44589623)

Get more spies of course. Call it the NSA Safety Agency.

Let me get this straight (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44589625)

The government points at the FISC and says they have the responsibility and independence. The FISC points at the government and says they have the resources. And the NSA says they 'only' collect 1.6% of internet traffic, nothing to see here, move along.

Well at least the NSA has broken the code of "Never Say Anything". It's not much but given their culture of Omerta-like silence, it's something.

In the big picture though, I think we've got it confirmed that the oversight of the secret agencies is inadequate. When they start publicly disagreeing about who is responsible for what, who said what (*cough* James Clapper *cough*), and the only thing they agree on is that the whistle blowers are low-down dirty varmints, we've hit a nerve.

This just in: spies have secrets! (0)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44589659)

Hell, I figured that out just from watching a few seasons of Burn Notice.

Hmmmm..... (1)

ogdenk (712300) | about a year ago | (#44590541)

We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They've got lifetime tenure as federal judges

Don't we have entire government departments dedicated to shortening lifetimes as efficiently as possible? Even if it's illegal and during times of peace?

Seriously, if the system of laws that enabled our society to thrive and exist thus far no longer apply to the people entrusted to enforce and protect them..... we have a serious f**king problem on our hands.

The president has a license to murder people and the means to spy on them with impunity. Outside of judicial oversight for the most part. For the safety of you and the nation of course.... Does this bother anyone but me?

I don't remember voting for a King or Emperor.

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