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On July 16, 2001, the GAO sent Senator Fred Thompson a report he had requested as the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. The report [pdf], FBI Intelligence Investigations: Coordination Within Justice on Counterintelligence Criminal Matters is Limited (July 2001) (GAO-01-780), observed the following regarding the enactment of the Foreign Information Surveillance Act:  

FISA was designed to strike a balance between the government's need for intelligence information to protect the national security and the protection of individual privacy rights...The Senate committee report provided that the basis for this legislation was the understanding that even if the President had an "inherent" constitutional power to authorize warrantless surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, the Congress had the power to regulate the exercise of this authority by legislating a reasonable warrant procedure governing foreign intelligence surveillance. pg 6.

Thanks for requesting the report Fred.

Originally posted to Neoprag on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:01 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  has anyone made the media.... (none)
    aware of this report?

    "God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth." -- Benj. Franklin

    by billlaurelMD on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:16:22 PM PST

  •  Funny (none)
    I think it is funny how before this mess the FISA was reviled by all as a totally evil "starchamber".  Perhaps even beyond evil.

    Now everybody acts like it was such a great thing.

    You never know what you got till its gone.  Silly humans.

    -5.50, -5.69   I'm Gandhi who happens to own a Machine Gun !!

    by Stink Tank on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:27:21 PM PST

    •  the threshold has shifted. (4.00)

      What's changed is that the degree of authoritarianism has become so high, that even things that were formerly considered authoritarian are now considered checks and balances against even more authoritarianism.   Pardon the run-on sentence & repetitive usage there, but I think it makes the point.  

      And yet in all fairness, it may very well be that past presidents really did operate within the law in this area.  FISC's apparent willingness to issue warrants may have been a reflection of a climate in which the requests were actually reasonable & legitimate.   Given everything I know about the way SIGINT works, and the need for operational security around legitimate missions, this is not an unreasonable hypothesis.  

      One thing we did not see in the past was the resignation of a judge from FISC as a protest against executive excess.  

  •  Interesting (none)
    Have not seen this before. It would be interesting to hear Thompson's view on this item. Might be fun to watch him spud (oilpatch humor) himself into the ground.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:30:46 PM PST

  •  typo in your title (none)
    FYI: you want "Thompson", not "Thompsom", in your diary's title.
  •  Clinton v. Bush (none)
    So intelligence was intelligence, and criminal investigation was criminal investigation, and warrants for foreign intelligence surveillance were easier to get, they had a funky standard of probable cause when going through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    In the 1990s, with increased concern about terrorism, it started getting messy. Janet Reno's DOJ wanted to relax "wall" standards about information sharing between intelligence and criminal investigation. The FISC, perhaps with a desire to be more than just a rubber stamp, seems to have liked the wall standards, and disliked bullshit surveillance applications coming especially out of FBI New York.

    This GAO report, delivered early in the Bush administration, is mostly about problems in information sharing.

    Contrast this Clintonesque triangulation on the issues with the Bush approach: "Legal problems about sharing information between intelligence and criminal prosecution? Fuck it. We won't get warrants. Judges won't give us legit warrants where our information is tainted? Fuck it, we won't let judges know anything about it. Can't prosecute people where the evidence is warrantless? Fuck it. We won't prosecute them, we'll just throw them in cells. People really won't like the illegal warrantless part of it? Fuck it. We'll just lie to them."

    Timeline whoring: lots o links.

    •  Nov 18, 2002 Important date (none)
        This was the only time the FISA Court of Review ever met and ruled. It's a secret appeals court with seven members and may or may not be appealable to the Supreme Court (in secret session). The writing mostly says that the ruling overturned previous FISA courtrulings (FISC?) and that it reauthorized and freed up about 1800 warrants in dispute, and the two warrants that were denied.
          I googled this date + FISA and got several sites with good info on this important date in FISA history. Also this ruling said that the DoJ was being too strict in it's interpretations of the FISA warrants.....so, I read this as the date the FISA act was broken open. The interesting thing is a wingnut site's article that was all "it's Clinton's Fault".. actually they were going on about this being the thing that broke down the wall between the CIA and FBI. It sounded like BS to me, like a talking point to cover they butts as to how the 911 hijackers could get past the omnipotent George.
          I want to know more about this issue and I think there's more to this Nov 18 2002 story. Anybody know anything more about the "wall "issue?  Diaries please? please?
          The link to the dkosopedia Timeline is geat, thanks.

      Somebody, do something, I got kids I care about, fer crying out loud!

      by KenBee on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 06:54:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Janet Reno and the Wall (none)
        This wall the wingnut speaks of, debate and infighting about it, it is very real. The wingnut's head would explode trying to take in that Janet Reno was fighting to tear it down.
  •  where can I write to Thompson...? (none)

    Given my technical background and knowledge of the field, I'd like to get in touch with him to discuss some of these issues privately.  

    Anyone have an email address for him or know where it can be found?  

    •  oops, correction (none)

      James Robertson, is the one I'm looking to get in touch with.  The FISC judge who just resigned.  (Bad me for screwing up with names (again)).  

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