“The government listens to Americans, and almost no one cares” @ OregonLive
Posted on September 4, 2012
Steven Goldberg — September 3, 2012: “In a commentary in The Oregonian on Aug. 19 (“Wondering about wiretaps: On surveillance, feds are listening but not talking”), David Sarasohn notes that a small group of senators, led by Oregon’s Ron Wyden, has questioned the implementation of amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the National Security Agency. The government’s power to listen in on phone calls and emails of U.S. citizens who are outside the U.S., or are communicating with someone outside the U.S., has increased dramatically. Yet other than these few senators, no one seems to care — not the NSA, not the Obama administration, not the American people and now, it seems, not the courts.
On Aug. 7, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Bush administration’s decision to ignore constraints imposed by FISA requiring the NSA to get a warrant — albeit from a secret FISA court — before monitoring the international communications of the Oregon-based nonprofit Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF). The justification to conduct warrantless surveillance, first revealed by The New York Times in an article in 2006, was that it was the president’s prerogative to ignore Congress when national security was at stake. Challenges to the NSA’s wiretap program were subsequently rebuffed by Congress — which immunized the telecommunications companies that had cooperated with the NSA from suit — and to a major extent by the courts, arguing that no one could prove he or she had in fact been surveilled under this secret program……………….”
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