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Friday, July 11, 2008

More on ACLU/FISA Suits

Yesterday, Glenn Greenwald interviewed Jameel Jaffer, the Director of the ACLU's National Security Project about the suits the ACLU has filed challenging the new FISA law's constitutionality. He's posted the interview as a podcast here. Definitely worth a listen. Here's a bit from Glenn:
In the podcast, Jaffer details exactly what warrantless surveillance powers the new FISA bill vests in the President, along with the reasons they are so pernicious. He underscores the extraordinary fact that the surveillance program implemented by Congress yesterday does not merely authorize most of the President's so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" that gave rise to this scandal in the first place, but is actually much broader in scope even than that lawless program, because there is not even any requirement in the new FISA law that the "target" of the surveillance have any connection whatsoever to Terrorism, nor is there any requirement that the Government believe the "target" is an agent of a foreign power or terrorist organization, or even guilty of any wrongdoing at all. As Georgetown Law Professor Marty Lederman wrote today (emphasis his):
The new statute permits the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails between the U.S. and a foreign location, without making any showing to a court and without judicial oversight, whether or not the communication has anything to do with al Qaeda -- indeed, even if there is no evidence that the communication has anything to do with terrorism, or any threat to national security
Those claiming that this new FISA law is just some sort of innocuous or mild extension of the Government's surveillance powers under the old FISA law should listen to Jaffer's extremely clear and detailed explanation of what this law really is, how invasive the powers it creates are, and why it tramples on core Constitutional protections.

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