Some FISA Court News

Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. of the Southern Northern District of New York was identified last week as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide judicial authorization for intelligence search and surveillance activities within the United States.

Although Judge Scullin was appointed to the FISA Court in 2004, his name had not previously appeared in news stories about the Court or in published lists of its current membership, such as this one (now updated).

Judge Scullin, who recently retired from the District Court in New York (but not from the FISA Court), acknowledged his membership in the secretive surveillance court in interviews with the Syracuse Post-Standard (March 17) and the Albany Times Union (March 14).

Another new FISA Court judge has presumably been appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to replace Judge James Robertson, who resigned from the FISA Court in December 2005 in what was reported to be an expression of protest against the President’s warrantless surveillance program, which circumvented the FIS Court.

But officials at the Justice Department Office of Intelligence Policy and Review said they would not disclose the identity of the latest appointment to the FISA Court except in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Such a request was duly filed.

See, relatedly, the updated FISA Court Rules of Procedure (pdf), effective February 17, 2006.

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