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?

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

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bmaz I defy any sentient human to explain how a Horse_eBooks style football bullshit generator would not be better commentary than Jon Gruden.
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bmaz Davids, Bowie and Gilmour, together Cold and Comfortably Numb: https://t.co/kSMKMbCcNF
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JimWhiteGNV So is the 2001 AUMF being used to justify the fight against Ebola, or will Obama need to get Congressional approval for it?
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emptywheel @TiredMemeCat Both appear to be terrible parents.
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emptywheel RT @charlie_savage: Key figure in Bush-era DOJ scandals - profile: http://t.co/3ftNs8Glza RT @rickhasen Schlozman's back (in #KSSEN) http:/…
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bmaz Anybody know an Exec, GC or other corp atty for American Family Ins in either Madison WI or Denver CO offices? Off record fine but need name
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emptywheel @cannedhiss I'm glad you did, honestly. I meant to comment on Peterson's past irresponsibility, not kids. But your point is absolutely fair
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emptywheel @cannedhiss Agree. Probably shouldn't have put it like that.
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emptywheel Colts offense channeling last year's Squawks offense today.
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emptywheel @cannedhiss actually, it's not married-non I care about. It's involvement in a kid's life.
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emptywheel @erniesfo Adding: and living in different states from them.
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