Most Transparent U.S. Administration Ever Discloses The US Will Continue Telephone Surveillance Program

Most Transparent Administration Ever Discloses The US Will Continue Telephone Surveillance Program (ZeroHedge, July 20, 2013):

“This is the most transparent administration in history”

President Barack Obama

No, really:


It wasn’t exactly like rubbing salt into the wounds of a US population that over the past month has learned it has no electronic communication privacy left, but it was close, when last night the US government’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced that it was granting the secret FISA court – the same 11 people who decide behind closed doors whose email, phone or browser history is of national interest and thus subject to further “examination” – an extension of its telephone surveillance program. This is one of the two data surveillance efforts by the US (in conjunction with all major private telecom and internet companies) that Snowden leaked about. Why do we know this? Because the Obama administration is suddenly serious about being the most transparent ever:The ODNI said in a statement it was disclosing the renewal as part of an effort at greater transparency following Snowden’s disclosure of the telephone data collection and email surveillance programs.” In short: “we will continue spying, but at least we are fully transparent about it.

From Reuters:

A top official said earlier on Friday that intelligence officials were working to declassify information on the programs that Snowden had already partially disclosed.

Robert Litt, general counsel of ODNI, said he was optimistic the intelligence community could make “a lot of progress” in declassifying the information.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court sided on Monday with Yahoo Inc and ordered the Obama administration to declassify and publish a 2008 court decision justifying Prism, the data collection program revealed last month by Snowden.

The ruling could offer a rare glimpse into how the government has legally justified its spy agencies’ data collection programs under FISA.

“One of the hurdles to declassification earlier was that the existence of the programs was classified,” Litt said in response to questions after a speech at the Brookings Institution. “It’s very hard to think about releasing the opinion that says a particular program is legal if you’re not going to disclose what the program is. Now that the program has been declassified, we’re going back and we’re looking at these opinions.”

Litt said intelligence officials were looking across the spectrum of its activities to see what could be declassified.

“We’re trying to prioritize things that we think are of the greatest public interest,” he said. “The highest priority is getting out fuller information about the programs about which partial information is already out.”

The 2008 ruling mentioned by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court stemmed from Yahoo’s challenge of the legality of broad, warrantless surveillance programs like Prism.

For those curious just who it is that makes the decision which US citizen (and certainly foreigner) is a worthwhile target of the Big Brother espionage apparatus, here is the full list of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges who, in secret, decide when the Fourth Amendment is merely some irrelevnat scribbles on very old parchment.

Members as of 2013:

Judge Judicial district Date appointed Term expiry
Reggie Walton (presiding) District of Columbia May 19, 2007 May 18, 2014
Rosemary M. Collyer District of Columbia March 8, 2013 March 7, 2020
Raymond J. Dearie Eastern District of New York July 2, 2012 July 1, 2019
Claire Eagan Northern District of Oklahoma February 13, 2013 May 18, 2019
Martin L.C. Feldman Eastern District of Louisiana May 19, 2010 May 18, 2017
Thomas Hogan District of Columbia May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
Mary A. McLaughlin Eastern District of Pennsylvania May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015
Michael W. Mosman District of Oregon May 4, 2013 May 3, 2020
F. Dennis Saylor IV District of Massachusetts May 19, 2011 May 18, 2018
Susan Webber Wright Eastern District of Arkansas May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
James Zagel Northern District of Illinois May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015


Former members:

Judge Judicial district Date appointed Term expiry
Roger Vinson Northern District of Florida May 4, 2006 May 18, 2013
Jennifer B. Coffman Eastern District of Kentucky May 19, 2011 May 18, 2018 (retired January 8, 2013)
John D. Bates District of Columbia February 22, 2006 February 21, 2013
Dee Benson District of Utah May 2004 May 2011
George P. Kazen Southern District of Texas July 15, 2003 May 18, 2010
Robert C. Broomfield District of Arizona October 1, 2002 May 18, 2009
Colleen Kollar-Kotelly District of Columbia May 18, 2002 May 18, 2009
James Robertson District of Columbia May 19, 2002 May 18, 2006 (resigned December 20, 2005)
Nathaniel M. Gorton District of Massachusetts May 18, 2001 May 18, 2008
James G. Carr Northern District of Ohio May 19, 2002 May 18, 2008
Claude M. Hilton Eastern District of Virginia May 2000 May 2007
John Edwards Conway District of New Mexico 2000[49] or 2002[47] sources conflict: 2004, 2006 or May 18, 2007
Harold A. Baker Central District of Illinois May 1998 May 2005
Stanley S. Brotman District of New Jersey 1997 2004
Michael J. Davis District of New Jersey 1999 2006
William Henry Stafford Jr. Northern District of Florida 1996 2003
Royce C. Lamberth District of Columbia 1995 2002
John F. Keenan Southern District of New York May 1994 May 2001
James C. Cacheris Eastern District of Virginia 1993 2000
Earl H. Carroll District of Arizona 1992 1999
Charles Schwartz Jr. Eastern District of Louisiana 1991 1998
Ralph G. Thompson Western District of Oklahoma 1990 1997
Frank Freedman District of Massachusetts 1990 1997
Wendell Alverson Miles Western District of Michigan 1989 1996
Robert W. Warren Eastern District of Wisconsin 1989 1996
Joyce H. Green District of Columbia 1988 1995
James E. Noland Southern District of Indiana 1987 1994
Conrad K. Cyr District of Maine 1987 1994
Frederick B. Lacey District of New Jersey 1979

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