Saturday, December 31, 2005

NSA & FISA

MATA MUSING

At the heart of the NSA controversy is the charge that the agency required FISA approval to conduct intel gathering and monitoring of conversations between "foreign powers" and those on US soil. Complicating the issue is the MSM's erroneous charge that NSA was illegally conducting "domestic spying", ignoring the int'l factor.

While doing some reading on the Sept 2002 Senate hearing,
The USA PATRIOT Act In Practice: Shedding Light on the FISA Process, what becomes clear in the mud being slung is that the only reason FISA approval would be required in such an int'l-domestic communication is if the suspected person on American soil were a citizen or a holder of a green card. Even at that, FISA approval requires stringent proof that the citizen/greencard holder in question were "knowingly engaging" in terrorism or it's plot.

There's two important notes here in my mind. First, it's difficult to prove "knowingly engaging" without some sleuthing and eavesdropping, eh? Cart before the horse scenerio.

Secondly, and most important note of significance is, if the suspect is in the States illegally, or on a visitation visa, all bets are off.

Obviously, the only way to appease those screaming "impeachment" at the top of their lungs is an investigation into the actual FISA applications one by one, and well as those that did NOT go thru FISA. This would be necessary to determine if the suspects on American soil were citizens or green card holders, proving whether or not the monitoring fell within legality.

To do this, a list of specific targets would then have to be made public for the investigation.

Right... now how bright would this be? Show your aces in hand to the enemy, and that we are aware of AQ ties? Is this what we, the American public, would want?

Oddly enough, this is an issue broadly spanning traditional party affiliation. Even Charles Fried's editorial in the Boston Globe today points out that this type of needed surveillance poses a large problem if it's legality is not adequately addressed in FISA, as modified by the Patriot Act. Mr. Fried is a Constitutional law professor at Harvard. Not exactly the center of conservative thinking, eh?

1 comment:

TrekMedic251 said...

Happy New Year, Mata and Alia!