This piece has been updated throughout to reflect breaking news in advance of the president's 11 a.m. speech.
FISA Reform on Capitol Hill
Last week, with little fanfare, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) released a previously secret opinion upholding the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of telephone metadata. The opinion, which deserves more attention than it has received, is a cavalier piece of work. Judge Claire Eagan fails even to consider, let alone to rebut, the strong arguments suggesting that the NSA programs violates both the U.S.
I cannot decide if I am more annoyed at the Washington Post or more annoyed at the Obama administration for the way this latest cache of Snowden-leaked NSA documents is playing. I have now gone through the documents with some care, and I find both the Post‘s formulation of the story and the administration’s response to the leak mind-boggling.
The defenders of government surveillance have used the media’s fascination with personalities to turn attention onto leaker Edward Snowden and away from what he disclosed. What Snowden’s leak should prompt is a re-examination of the National Security Agency (NSA) and other national security agencies and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) that is supposed to authorize their activies.