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Received an e-mail today from Senator Tom Udall (D. NM) regarding FISA reform:
Did you know that decisions made in a secret court are affecting your privacy rights?

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorized courts that meet in secret, on issues that are secret, and issue rulings in secret. It was a FISA court ruling that made the recent and controversial NSA surveillance programs lawful.

In a FISA court, there is no one to stand up for the privacy of Americans. Only one side is represented -- the government’s side. No other court in the United States is so one-sided.

I’m working with my colleagues to protect your privacy, and reform the FISA court system. And I need your support.

Your privacy matters. Help me fight for it -- call for immediate FISA reform today:

As a former federal prosecutor, I hold the principles of our American justice system dear. A hallmark of our system is that it is adversarial. All sides are argued, and judgments are made based on the facts.

That’s not how these FISA courts work.

I understand that the world we live in presents new and dangerous threats. And I also understand that the government needs to have the tools to meet these security challenges and protect our people. But I refuse to believe that we cannot protect the civil liberties of our citizens at the same time.

Your privacy matters. That’s what the FISA court reform I’m backing is meant to protect. Join the grassroots movement pushing for reform. Add your name today:

Thank you for joining me.


You can click here to sign Udall's petition:

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by New Mexico Kossaks and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 09:31:03 AM PDT

  •  Just curious. (0+ / 0-)

    As a former federal prosecutor, how many times did you or your colleagues prosecute a drug case against an American citizen based on evidence revealed as a result of a tip from a "DEA informant" or a "random" traffic stop?

    You are, no doubt, aware of the Reuters story about the Special Operations Division of the DEA:

    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

    "I was pissed," the prosecutor said. "Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you're trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court." The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

    How many times do you think you or your colleagues were similarly misled?

    From the same story:

    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. "You'd be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.' And so we'd alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.


    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as "parallel construction."

    How many cases do you think you or your colleagues prosecuted against American citizens based on "random" traffic stops that were, perhaps, not random, but in fact targeted based on communications intercepted in violation of the Fourth Amendment?

    Just wondering about your take on all this. Not trying to call you out here. I have a lot of, admittedly grudging, respect for the federal prosecutors I encountered as a defense attorney. Generally I found them to be faithful public servants who respected the rights of the defendants they prosecuted.

    But so many cases seemed to originate from a fortuitous tip from a mysterious informant or a lucky traffic stop that I wonder if you have any misgivings about how many times you or your colleagues, and the court, were fed the fruit of the poisonous tree by federal law enforcement agents.

    " 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." Elwood P. Dowd

    by paulbkk on Wed Aug 07, 2013 at 01:19:44 PM PDT

  •  Apologies (0+ / 0-)

    for my vodka-fueled confusion. On the bright side, it's good to know that my writing skills don't deteriorate that much when I'm plastered.

    " 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." Elwood P. Dowd

    by paulbkk on Thu Aug 08, 2013 at 07:34:45 AM PDT

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