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
emptywheel @scareduck Yeah. But its harder to hide bulky fun stuff in them. Suspect it's most useful for counterproliferation.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Realization: One advantage of so little shipping being done under US flag is that NSA can spy on almost all cargo ships. #ThinkLikeBobLitt
5mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel There's a "doth protest too much" aspect to much of what NSA added to their IG Report bt March and June 2009.
8mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Did Baltimore cops personally tune up #FreddieGray or, as @Will_Bunch suggests take him on a "necked ride" http://t.co/wMDO7GZ34z or both?
10mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Reading these IG Reports I'm wondering if @barryeisler could bring back Addington character to kill in ghoulish fashion again in new book?
27mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @tomgara Sure, but with that advance you got a watch you need to charge.
40mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JohnWonderlich Lots of that goes on it turns out.
42mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @KenRoth And somehow OPR never released the investigation of the latter creative lawyering.
54mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @matthew_d_green Saw a summary of it.
56mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JonathanCohn "Oh, sure. KSM tells us non-existent black Muslims in MT are gonna start forest fires. But waterboarding so must be true"
57mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @JonathanCohn And worst part is that Intel whiz Alfreda Bikowsky BELIEVED that for like 3 months, apparently not asking that VERY basic Q
58mreplyretweetfavorite
October 2012
S M T W T F S
« Sep   Nov »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031