Monday, May 02, 2016

Reason: The Fourth Amendment and the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Behold, the "USA Freedom Act":
   Yet the FISA court still grants general warrants — look where you wish and seize what you find — exposing our innermost thoughts to the prying eyes of the intelligence community in direct contravention of the Fourth Amendment.
   Enter the USA Freedom Act. One of its selling points to Congress was that it would permit the FISA court to appoint a lawyer to challenge, hypothetically, some of its behavior. The court recently made such an appointment, and the lawyer appointed challenged the policy of the National Security Agency (NSA), the federal government's domestic spying agency, of sharing data it acquires via the unconstitutional FISA warrants with the FBI. She argued that the data sharing goes far beyond the stated purpose of the FISA warrants, which is to gather foreign intelligence data from foreign people, not evidence of domestic crimes of anyone whose emails might be swept up by those warrants.
   The challenge revealed publicly what many of us have condemned for years: The NSA actually makes its repository of raw data from emails and text messages available for the FBI to scour at will, without the FBI's obtaining a warrant issued by a judge pursuant to the Fourth Amendment.
   In an opinion issued in November but kept secret until last week, the FISA court rejected the hypothetical challenge of its own appointee and ruled that the NSA could continue to share what it wants with the FBI.


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