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This is an interesting article about the FISA courts, etc.
Former judge admits flaws with secret FISA court
A former federal judge who served on a secret court overseeing the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs denied Tuesday that the judges act as "rubber stamps." But James Robertson said the system is flawed because of its failure to allow legal adversaries to question the government's actions.
"Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case," Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said during a hearing of the federal oversight board directed by President Barack Obama to scrutinize government spying.
Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should play the role of providing legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court "has turned into something like an administrative agency."
The president and the director of national intelligence "have been at pains to emphasize that the government is collecting metadata, not content," Jaffer [American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer] said in advance remarks obtained by the AP. "But the suggestion that metadata is somehow beyond the reach of the Constitution is wrong. For Fourth Amendment purposes, the crucial question is not whether the government is collecting content or metadata but whether it is invading the reasonable expectation of privacy. Here, it clearly is."
More at link...