Sunday, June 30
Secret judges of secret court which secretly approves spying in secret decisions publicly objects to its portrayal as secretly rubber-stamping government spying . . .
The secret judges of the secret court which secretly rubber stamps in secret decisions the secret espionage carried out against American citizens are upset about the "perception that the court works too closely with the government." Trying telling it to a judge:
The perception that the court works too closely with the government arises in large part from the tribunal’s “ex parte” nature, which means that unlike in a traditional court, there is no legal sparring between adversaries with the judge as arbiter. Instead, a Justice Department official makes the case for the government agency seeking permission to carry out surveillance inside the United States. No one speaks for the target of the surveillance or the company that is ordered to allow its networks to be tapped or to turn over its customers’ data.
Some critics say the court is a rubber stamp for government investigators because it almost never has turned down a warrant application. However, that high batting average doesn’t take into account changes the court requires in some requests and other applications that the government withdraws.
For about 30 years, the court was located on the sixth floor of the Justice Department’s headquarters, down the hall from the officials who would argue in front of it. (The court moved to the District’s federal courthouse in 2009.) “There is a collaborative process that would be unnatural in the public, criminal court setting,” said a former Justice official familiar with the court.
While claiming that it is not a "rubber stamp" for its government spymasters, the secret court last year approved 1,789 applications to spy on foreign intelligence targets out of 1790 submitted to it, according to a Justice Department notice to Congress. The only one not approved was withdrawn by the government before it could be approved. The utter corruption of the judiciary shown in its contemptible failure to perform its constitutional function may be the most dangerous aspect of the NSA assault on our rights.