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View Diary: Dick Durbin: Secret FISA court 'fixed,' 'loaded' (206 comments)

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  •  Schiff is my old Congressman, and it really (13+ / 0-)

    surprises me to see him taking this stand.

    He was actually in the New Democrat Coalition and the Progressive Caucus at the same time at one point.

    He was one of the last two or three  people to sign the Public Option letter.

    Not usually a "Stand up" kinda guy.  This is weird and I don't know what to make of it.  Except, well, Boxer and Feinstein are getting older.

    Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

    by JesseCW on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 11:29:12 AM PDT

    •  Poll numbers. American public is not amused (14+ / 0-)

      by spying that goes past any constitutional limits we thought were in place.

      Schiff and Rokita (R) are co-sponsoring legislation to address one part of the problem.

      An op-ed from both in today's Guardian:Republicans and Democrats agree: Fisa oversight of NSA spying doesn't work

      The recent leaks of NSA programs to the Guardian and Washington Post have awakened a strong desire among many Americans to know more about how the intelligence community conducts its business.
      •  I might need to take a better look at the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        midwesterner, gooderservice


        Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

        by JesseCW on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:26:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would it make more sense to you if (11+ / 0-)

          I told you that Schiff's proposal would have these "Legal Adversaries" selected by an agency within the Executive Branch called the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board - the same agency that advises the White House now on what constitutes the bounds of what is considered Constitutional for the NSA to be doing right now?

          I think that it makes perfect sense that Schiff and an ally to the White House like Durbin to be perfectly comfortable with a plan like this one - one where the adversaries will be chosen by the opponents. ;)

          •  Yes. That would. (8+ / 0-)

            Mr. Universe is a known degenerate Robotophile, and his sources include former Browncoat Traitors. What is their agenda in leaking top secret information about the Reavers and endangering us all?

            by JesseCW on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 12:40:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  So, no real oversight or defense of constitution. (15+ / 0-)

            The executive branch would retain all control.  That was James Madison's definition of tyranny.  

            James Madison Federalist #47:

            The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. ... The reasons on which Montesquieu grounds his maxim are a further demonstration of his meaning. "When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body," says he, "there can be no liberty, because apprehensions may arise lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner." Again: "Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor."
            •  Well, it might end the debate for a few (7+ / 0-)

              more years or until it is proven to be an attempt to make what is already a kangaroo court into a Kang and Roo court!

              •  Sort of like how we're revisiting healthcare (4+ / 0-)

                someday. Maybe.

                Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

                by Jim P on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:52:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Sort of more like we are revisiting FISA (6+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Jim P, CroneWit, NonnyO, maryabein, rlochow, JesseCW

                  after they "fixed it" after the last round of disclosures about unConstitutional activity. ;)

                •  NSA Spies-R-Us Booz Allen Hamilton (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CroneWit, midwesterner, rlochow, Jim P

                  ... is also benefiting from Obamacare.

                  93 Days Till Obamacare. Are the Feds Ready?
                  Another beneficiary has been advisory firms like Booz Allen Hamilton which, based on the GAO's release, had been granted close to $38 million in contracts for consulting and technical advisory services as of March. Helping out the technical teams with everything from oversight and eligibility to the actual support and integration of all of this technology, Booz Allen Hamilton's reputation has a lot riding on a successful launch.
                  My bold.  Notice that is $38 million SO FAR (more to come for these "consulting and technical advisory services," presumably).  For a few more of the Who's Who of Corporate Beneficiaries of Obamacare, read the full story at the link.

                  Let's see:  Access to all communication each person has PLUS access to all medical data about a person via computers.  All kinds of info conveniently at hand for anyone who wants to spy on an individual..., but, of course, we're promised confidentiality by Big Brother.

                  What could possibly go wrong?!?

                  I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

                  by NonnyO on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:36:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. Yet Schiff-Rokita bill sounds so reasonable (4+ / 0-)

            in their op-ed at Guardian --


            The op-ed (iirc, after reading a few moments ago) didn't say anything about the Privacy & Civil Liberties Board.  But now that you mention it, I remember the Board as playing that part in suggestions for other sources.

            Would you happen to have a link to how the Board plays into the Schiff-Rokita Bill?  (Not dis-believing you; just want to read.)

            Here's the link to the Bill from the Guardian article --


            (I feel like I might be mixing apples & oranges here -- combining/mixing to aspect of a related story.  If so, my apologies; chalk it up to information overload.)

              •  Two FISC 'fixes' from Schiff - not so good, imo (4+ / 0-)

                Thanks to inclusiveheart and midwesterner for links.  Schiff has two proposals, one in Guardian joint op-ed with Rokita, one in WaPo and HuffPo.

                Guardian op-ed


                . . .  we have introduced bipartisan legislation in both houses of Congress called the Ending Secret Law Act, along with Senators Jeff Merkley (Democrat from Oregon) and Mike Lee (Utah Republican). Our bill would require public disclosure of FISC opinions that contain significant interpretations or constructions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act statute.  [...]

                Under the Ending Secret Law Act, the attorney general would be required to release opinions by the FISC that contain significant interpretations of the law in an unclassified format. If the attorney general determines a full FISC opinion cannot be declassified due to national security concerns, they must order a declassified summary produced. It also requires the DOJ to report on the number of opinions that will remain classified, giving citizens insight into how often the programs are used.

                WaPo/HuffPo --

                 . . . one of the worst problems with the programs: The fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court only hears from the government when deciding whether to authorize surveillance.

                Schiff’s proposal will require the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board — an agency within the Executive Branch that is supposed to monitor the balance between anti-terror policies and civil liberties — to create a pool of attorneys with experience in Fourth Amendment or national security law to argue the side of the public when the government requests a surveillance warrant. Under the proposal, the FISA court would be required to appoint a lawyer to act as a kind of “public advocate” for cases that would have broad constitutional implications.

                “What we have in mind is to use the Privacy and Civil Liberties board to generate a pool of attorneys, in consultation with the Justice Department, that will be cleared and can provide a contrary view in significant FISA court cases,” Schiff told me today. “The court will have the benefit of hearing contrary views and contrary case law.”

                I have some problems with both of these proposals as described.  At first glance, I am concerned about:  (1) All FSIC functions remain under Executive Branch control, no Congressional or non-Exec Judicial oversight, in either plan; (2) the terms 'significant' cases with 'broad constitutional implications' look like perfect places to hide contained NSA over-reach -- ie, if Verizon-type broad orders are grandfathered or formally legalized, such order would not be made public and would not receive 'adversarial' treatment.

                Historically, DOJ & Atty General have been the source of the (highly questionable) legal theories that have granted the Executive Branch extraordinary 'war powers' over domestic surveillance.  Schiff's proposals, as reported, appear to maintain unchallenged control over domestic surveillance, and over the secrecy surrounding it, in the Executive Branch.

                Some history of the DOJ's role in creating the theoretical underpinnings of the current NSA practices can be found here --


                -- and in its links.  And yes, there is a memo/white paper that says, in effect, 'The Fourth Amendment no longer applies' -- by John Yoo.

                •  One of the things that you are over looking (5+ / 0-)

                  is the fact that the FISA Court Judges are already effectively "captured" not just by the Executive Branch, but specifically by the Bush Administration's Executive Branch in that they are selected and appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

                  Wrap your head around that one.  One man with no oversight selects these Judges and they are lifers.  

                  In the modern colloquial, Madison's comments on "tyranny" quoted above would effectively boil down to "Been there, done that".  Just because we vote for these Presidents doesn't mean that we are not following the template of a Monarchical or Totalitarian government - that notion shows just how very lost we are as a country in understanding our democracy as it was intended to work - we think that voting is the only distinction between Monarchies and Dictatorships, but that's entirely wrong.  

                  Saddam Hussein held elections - and surprise!, he always won.

                  Elections are not an absolute safeguard to a democratic system - they are a mere component of a democratic system of many, many checks and balances and of a system which is designed to be adversarial.  

                  If voting was all a democracy really is, our Constitution would be one line long and it would have said, "Everyone who is a white male gets to vote."  {The End}

                  The real

          •  Exactly (13+ / 0-)

            Schiff and Durbin can be trusted to do what the exec branch and party leadership want done, but in the process, will act like progressive champions (which they are not).

            Jump out in front of the parade and lead us down a dead end street.

            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:16:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's not weird (19+ / 0-)

      if you think about it.

      The fire bucket brigade has been sent out to try to get ahead of this whole thing. Their job is to maintain the status quo as much as possible, damage control, and to come up with some legislation that satisfies the rabble rousers before they effect any radical change.

      Same with Dick Durbin on the Senate side.  He's out there with his Mr. Progressive voice again, though he hasn't been progressive for a long time.  

      Do something to calm down that fringe, Rep. Schiff and Sen. Durbin before they make real change happen! Put out the fire!

      Well at least it's not coming from the intel committee chairs because nobody trusts them to come up with anything like real change. They've shown themselves to be honorary members of the intel agencies and agents of the surveillance state at this point.

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 01:13:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What does astound even highly cynical me (8+ / 0-)

        is how effectively they have muzzled almost any authentic debate and 12 years after 9/11 is about the right time to rethink all these Fear Mongering Acts.  

        Seems to me the party leadership has pretty much chilled debate on most issues.   And the Republicans have been such a cover for them.  The wingnuts are amusing.  We can have a thousand front page diaries on them.  Such fun to distract us all with Steve King.  

        Just don't anybody try to wedge an idea into the Democratic Party without it being pre-controlled.   I don't like being managed.  I don't like my two Senators being managed.  I don't like that it that they never get to meow anymore until Schumer or Durbin first checks their kitty leash.

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