Former Surveillance Court Judge Disputes Charge of Coordination With NSA

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
Former Surveillance Court Judge Disputes Charge of Coordination With NSA

In statements made to the Washington Post, a former FISA court judge disputes the claim that the secret court rubber stamps requests of the NSA.

Judges who sit on the secret court charged with approving surveillance of American citizens are mad. One former occupant of the FISA court bench isn't happy with the way she and her colleagues have been portrayed as rubber stampers of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) efforts to eradicate the civil liberties protected by the Constitution.

This is the story told in a June 29 Washington Post article entitled “Secret-court judges upset at portrayal of ‘collaboration’ with government.

Weeks ago, the Post and The Guardian (U.K.) revealed the NSA’s dragnet seizure of telephone records of millions of Americans and the real-time tapping of Internet activity of people not suspected of committing any crime. As The New American has reported, many of the country’s largest Internet companies have cooperated with the federal government in its quest to watch and record the online behavior of all Americans.

FISA court (officially the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) judges don’t want to be lumped in with the collaborators with the construction of the surveillance state.

The Washington Post reports on the recent riling up of one of the FISA court judges:

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, took the highly unusual step Friday of voicing open frustration at the account in the report and court’s inability to explain its decisions.

“In my view, that draft report contains major omissions, and some inaccuracies, regarding the actions I took as Presiding Judge of the FISC and my interactions with Executive Branch officials,” Kollar-Kotelly said in a statement to The Post.

The draft report referred to by Kollar-Kotelly was filed in 2009 by the inspector general of the NSA. The classified report was included in the cache of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Acocrding to the Post, the report contained “some details about the interaction between the court’s judges and the NSA, which sought approval for the Bush administration’s top-secret domestic surveillance programs.”

In the Washington Post story, Kollar-Kotelly refutes the notion that the court she once sat on was guilty of “coordination” with the NSA and the federal domestic spying apparatus.

Click here to read the entire article.

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