FISA NSA The Daily Banter

Snowden’s Weird Behavior & Greenwald’s Divisiveness Obscure the Real Issue: Reforming the FISA Court

My Monday column begins like so:

In the blur of unhinged rage circulating around Edward Snowden and the NSA story, you might’ve missed the bombshell New York Times article by Eric Lichtblau about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), titled “Intelligence court rules wiretapping program legal.”

The article documents how the appeals court that overseas FISC ruled that NSA can gather cellphone and email metadata without a court order.

The lede: “A federal intelligence court, in a rare public opinion, is expected to issue a major ruling validating the power of the president and Congress to wiretap international phone calls and intercept e-mail messages without a court order, even when Americans’ private communications may be involved.”

The ruling will be released by FISC on Thursday. That is, Thursday January 8, 2009.

The article was originally published on January 5, more than four-and-a-half years ago. (It’s worth noting that in April, 2009 the Obama Justice Department pulled the back the reins on NSA overreach and enacted new privacy safeguards, according to the Wall Street Journal. Another fact lost in down the memory hole.) So much of this NSA story has been reported before to varying, but significantly lesser degrees of public outrage, and yet every article posted since early June has been treated as if it’s a brand new “bombshell.” Bug-eyed demands for the imprisonment of the president, the dissolution of NSA and the canonization of Edward Snowden have ensued.

It happened again this weekend. [READ ON]