ACLU Seeks Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Records

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an unusual motion (pdf) with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking public disclosure of recent Court orders interpreting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the law that regulates warrantless surveillance within the United States.

“Over the next six months, Congress and the public will debate the wisdom and necessity of permanently expanding the executive’s authority to conduct intrusive forms of surveillance without judicial oversight,” the ACLU motion stated, referring to the debate over the recent amendments to the FISA that will sunset in six months if they are not renewed.

“Unless this Court releases the sealed materials, this debate will take place in a vacuum.”

“Publication of the sealed materials would assist the public in evaluating the significance of recent amendments to FISA and determining for itself whether those amendments should be made permanent,” the ACLU argued.

A copy of the August 8 ACLU Motion for Release of Court Records is posted here.

An ACLU press release on the motion is here.

The ACLU motion admitted that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s docket “consists mainly of material that is properly classified.” However, it noted, “on at least two occasions in the past, this Court has recognized the public interest in the Court’s [activities] and has accordingly published its rulings.”

“Disclosure of the sealed materials, with redactions to protect information that is properly classified, would be consistent with the Court’s past practice and procedural rules,” the ACLU said.

No Responses to “ACLU Seeks Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Records”

  1. SacrAmerican August 11, 2007 at 6:08 PM #

    Freedom by definition is the liberty to move or act without outside interference, coercion, or unreasonable restriction. With the government’s newfound ability to conduct sneak and peek home searches, wiretapping, the examination of personal e-mails, medical history and banking records all in absence of a warrant, or even probable cause it proves that freedom no longer exists in this country. To contend freedom actually exists in the USA blatantly ignores the factual meaning of the word as defined in both the US Constitution and in the dictionary it self.

    As a nation we must now decide whether we want to be free or not. Are we going to allow a fanatical, power hungry authoritarian liar to scare American liberty away, or will we stand firm and put this law breaker in prison where traitors belong. Remember he is sworn to uphold the US Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. That oath has been breached by a sitting president who has exhibited arrogance and conflict with the traditional principles of a free society.