Why Should We Believe Solicitors General about Warrantless Wiretapping

I’m working on a longer post about the arguments in Amnesty v. Clapper today.

But I wanted to point to this passage from the transcript, in which Solicitor General Don Verrilli responded to Justice Ginsburg’s suggestion that the FISA Court didn’t exercise very rigorous oversight, given that it had only ever rejected one application.

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Is there much of a speculation involved in how — I think it’s only one time, and it was under the pre-amended statute, that the FISA court ever turned down an application

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes, but that, Your Honor, is, I think, not a fair assessment of the process. It’s really very much an iterative process in which there’s a dialogue between the executive branch and the FISA court in which the court can demand more information, raise objections. Those get worked out, and then there’s a final order.

So I don’t think it’s fair to infer from the fact that there’s only one rejection that this — that it’s a process that isn’t rigorous.

But there was evidence in the court room today to show how false such assurances are.

You see, Ted Olson was in the room. He was there to argue a copyright case heard just after Amensty v. Clapper. And as I have noted before, the government actually sent Olson–back when he was Solicitor General–to argue before the FISA Court of Review without disclosing the warrantless wiretapping program to him. He made a number of claims about how “lawful” the government’s activities were when, in fact, they weren’t.

Given that the government has lied to FISCR before, and given that Solicitors General apparently don’t get briefed on what the government does with warrantless wiretapping, is there any reason we should believe this Solicitor General about the FISA Court’s oversight?

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+0Email to someone

8 Responses to Why Should We Believe Solicitors General about Warrantless Wiretapping

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Hat's off to @StephStradley for giving a nice looking couple seats to the Texans game. #NiceWork https://t.co/yXLET7fE4e
emptywheel @nickmanes1 I still don't understand how Eli's contract didn't include a clause giving OBJ bonus for every circus catch making him look good
bmaz Oh, that may leave a mark. https://t.co/PVQE2g3U6P
emptywheel @miishke U Mich. He was there for a semester in 1999.
emptywheel @nickmanes1 Ut oh. Just got back. Picks on top of picks?
bmaz @StephStradley [Shaking my fist in the direction of Houston] Dangit!
emptywheel @miishke You mean for ongoing work? Dunno that Borges useful. Just familiar! @ErrataRob
emptywheel @ThusBloggedA Who better than a Kitties-Pats fan?
emptywheel @yoshiofor It had to be. Encryption is apparently the only reason why authorities miss terrorists.
emptywheel @hypervisible Well, good, you just made me feel better about taking pleasure in Suh doing less well than expected.
emptywheel @hypervisible I did not. Thanks.
emptywheel I hate taking great pleasure out of Suh's less than stellar season at the Fins. But I do.
October 2012
« Sep   Nov »